New tourism post

A new Deputy Director of International Marketing and Promotions with the Department of Tourism has been recruited and is in the process of being appointed.

The identity of the person has not yet been disclosed.

The Deputy Director of Marketing position has been vacant since Pilar Bush was appointed Director of Tourism in January 2005.

Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism Gloria McField-Nixon explained, ‘Upon the advice of the DoT, this position has been restructured to be based in Grand Cayman and to have responsibility for all international marketing, as opposed to just US marketing as was previously the situation.

‘Based locally, the Deputy Director of International Marketing will be better able to facilitate strategic synergies within the DoT’s home office. This position has been advertised, interviews held and a decision is pending with the Public Service Commission.’

A second Deputy Director of Product position has also been created.

‘Given the maturity of Cayman’s tourism industry, the many product-related initiatives arising from the National Tourism Management Policy and following the lessons learned from Hurricane Ivan, the DoT and MoT have agreed to create a second deputy director position with responsibility for product development,’ Mrs. McField-Nixon said.

This position has been advertised and interviews are due to be held later this month. The entire process from interview to appointment will likely take several weeks.

‘It has also been agreed to create a position of General Manager for the US region to oversee the US head office and the DoT’s various regional sales offices. The first dedicated post of product development officer with responsibility for cruise management has also been established to facilitate the DoT’s improved involvement in the management of cruise tourism.’

The Ministry and Department of Tourism have worked together closely in recent months to ensure the HR structure of the DoT addresses key challenges and future opportunities which face the tourism industry, she noted.

‘While filling new positions and vacancies is obviously the focus, the current HR strategy has also facilitated some existing staff having an opportunity to assume additional responsibilities in return for duty allowances, in some cases receive permanent upgrades where it has been proven that staff are consistently functioning at a higher level than the prior job descriptions indicated and in one case for a young Caymanian marketing officer to be seconded to an overseas office in order to gain greater experience and exposure on selling the Cayman Islands overseas.’

The department, similar to other government agencies, has had to be innovative in applying its limited human resources, she said.

‘While the temporary staff shortages may have created challenges, it has also created some distinct opportunities for existing staff within the department.’

The Deputy Director positions were advertised 28 October and 4 November locally and overseas via the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and 15 applications were received for each position.

The two additional posts will enable the DoT to better focus on its strategic objectives to recover from the business loss experienced post Hurricane Ivan and to position the destination for continued, sustainable growth, said Mrs. McField-Nixon.

Explaining why there has been no Deputy Director position for so long, Mrs. McField-Nixon said, ‘The DoT had lost its old office accommodation due to hurricane damages and were temporarily working from numerous sites using a shift system. The DoT staff was assigned to various task forces to address immediate issues related to the hurricane recovery.

‘After DoT was able to secure centralised office accommodations, attention was given to addressing staffing needs. In particular, it became clear that the department’s executive management team needed to be restructured to respond to the needs of the industry.

‘An internal review was done which recommended some changes to the duties of the Deputy Director of Marketing. These recommendations have been approved and recruitment has proceeded on this basis. Throughout this process, the Department of Tourism has continued to deliver its annual programmes and has in fact, worked with the Ministry of Tourism to launch new initiatives to strengthen the Cayman Islands tourism industry, such as the Tourism Apprenticeship Programme.’

As the Acting Permanent Secretary and Chief Officer for the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. McField-Nixon is responsible for ultimately signing off on contracts for new hires within the Ministry.

She explained, ‘With the ongoing personnel reform, Chief Officers and Heads of Departments have greater involvement and responsibility for HR matters. At present, however, all hiring decisions are still subject to the approval of the Public Service Commission. With the ongoing personnel reform in the Civil Service, there will greater delegation of HR responsibilities to Chief Officers and Heads of Department which will allow them full powers to recruit subject to approved policies.’

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