Today’s Editorial May 18: Lodging should be pristine

Hotel and tourist accommodation owners have been put on notice.

If you’re not licensed, get it done.

If you’re inspected and you don’t fix your problems, don’t be surprised or become indignant when the Hotel Licensing Board shuts you down.

That was the world yesterday from Cayman Islands Tourism Association President Karie Bergstrom.

Those who offer accommodations owe it to their employees, visitors and the Cayman Islands to present the best product possible.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; the tourism dollar that is brought in to the Cayman Islands keeps us all employed to some extent.

So it is incumbent on us to put our best foot forward when entertaining visitors.

The Cayman Islands tourism product is built on high standards and targets high-end customers.

Our visitors should expect nothing less than the best from us.

A shoddy hotel, condo or rental house can do more to ruin our reputation than a store clerk who doesn’t know how to give directions to a shop around the corner.

Many of our visitors are return guests.

Just one week spent in less-than-desirable accommodations can cause them to do a couple of things – first, they may not come back to the Cayman Islands to leave their hard-earned cash in our restaurants, pubs, stores and attractions.

Secondly, they’ll more than likely go home and tell a half dozen of their friends about the bad lodging experience they had. Those friends in turn will tell a half dozen others and so on. There’s no telling how many potential guests will change their minds about visiting the Cayman Islands because of the poor quality of accommodations experienced by just one family or group of friends.

Inspections of lodging accommodations are just now beginning.

If you are the owner of a hotel, condo or house that is being rented out to visitors, please make sure your property is up to par with what is expected from our high-end tourism product.

Please work hand-in-hand with the Department of Tourism, Department of Environmental Health and the Fire Department to keep your property in tip-top shape.

We are all in agreement that the majority of our lodging accommodations received damage from Hurricane Ivan.

But owners have had almost two years to fix their properties.

Ivan can no longer be used as an excuse for shoddy accommodations.

We owe it to each other to see that this part of our tourism product is adequately inspected and faults fixed in a timely manner.

There are only four other Caribbean destinations that can adequately compete against our high standards regarding lodging. We should have such a perfect product that no one can compete against us.