CITA to diversify fundraising

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is to get creative on its fundraising efforts and try to diversify them.

Referring to the annual Taste of Cayman, the organisation’s main fundraising source, President Karie Bergstrom said after having the event rained out for the past two years, it has been a difficult time for the organisation financially.

Plans are in place for Taste of Cayman to take place again sometime this summer, although no date has yet officially been decided. ‘We need to have a very successful Taste of Cayman this year and we need to diversify our efforts at fundraising through other things such as auctions,’ she commented, rather than putting all their eggs in one basket.

Ms Bergstrom was speaking about some of the topics discussed at the recent AGM on 20 April, when members elected a new Board of Directors for the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

According to a press release from the organisation, the newly elected members are Jean Cohen (Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman), Wakelyn Rivers (The Avalon), Rory Mohammed (Lacovia), Rollin Jackson (Tropicana Tours), Jo-Anne Brown (Celebrations), Nancy Easterbrook (DiveTech), Mike Flowers (Lone Star), and Cliff Woods (Tropical Trader Restaurant Group).

The new board members will join four others, Karie Bergstrom (Deloitte), Nadia Stradling (Grand Cayman Marriott), Rick Blake (Cayman Airways) and Steve Broadbelt (Ocean Frontiers) who will serve the second year of their two-year terms.

Elected to a second term as President by the new board is Karie Bergstrom.

Outgoing board members include: Marlene Bodden (Regal Beach Club), Effie Mitchell (Casa Caribe), Ken Hydes (Boatswain’s Beach), Kenrick Webster (Websters Tours) and Tom McCallum (The Reef Resort).

The CITA currently has 194 members representing tourism businesses from all sectors.

Areas to be focused on this year include continuing to work with the Department of Tourism on its marketing plan for the Cayman Islands and continuing to push forward with events such as the Taste of Cayman.

Coming up this May is the CITA’s Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange which involves travel wholesalers visiting and meeting with local tourism partners to discuss continuing contracts and set new ones.

Last year the island tour part of the exchange focused on Hurricane Ivan recovery, whereas this year its focus will be on attractions such as the new Boatswain’s Beach and the Botanic Park.

The opening evening of 7 May will see a cocktail party at the Governor’s residence and the main opening the next day will feature speeches from Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford, Director of Tourism Pilar Bush and Ms Bergstrom.

CITA will attend the DEMA trade show this year and will continue to work with the Department of Tourism on its travel agent fam trips to Cayman.

The organisation will also look forward to its annul Stingray Tourism Awards later this year and will again organise its annual Christmas Hamper raffle and be involved in the International Coastal Clean-up.

As far as industry development goes, the CITA is pushing forward with its sinking of the USS Kittiwake ship for the Shipwreck City project.

It will also work with airline partners to support airlift to the Cayman Islands and to ensure that there is proper airlift available for room stock, said Ms Bergstrom.

CITA will work with the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism, the Public Transport Board and the taxi and tour bus drivers in order to support changes in the transport system in terms of taxis and buses.

The membership services have been more active in this past year than any other in terms of making representations to government in areas such as the Immigration Law and the organisation will carry on its member advocacy on the immigration issue, she said. They are also monitoring the captive dolphin issue.

The CITA will carry on looking at hot topics and survey its membership on these in order to lobby for changes on certain issues. It will also seek to work with other associations on the various issues.

Ms Bergstrom added that they will continue to support the Government in the transition of the DoT to a Tourism Authority and to work and support the Minister on the National Tourism Management Policy and policies such as the Go East Initiative and the Tourism Apprenticeship Programme.

It will also push to try to get regulations in place for the North Sound Management Policy to create Special Management areas and it will continue to work closely with the Ministry on any legislative review processes.

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