Today’s Editorial, August 7: Hotel numbers don’t lie

The good news continues to pour in for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.

The movers and shakers of Cayman’s tourism product have gotten the word out to the rest of the world that this country is back on its feet and doing better.

The proof comes in high hotel occupancy rates in this usually slow season of summer.

Just take a look at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman where there was 100 per cent occupancy of its 350 available rooms last week.

That’s astounding considering the resort just opened its doors a mere nine months ago.

Most of the available hotels have been reporting high summer occupancies.

And travellers appear to be savvy when making vacation or holiday plans; they’re watching the weather.

Hotels are usually booked several weeks or even months in advance.

Travellers to the Cayman Islands are booking two weeks out during hurricane season with an eye to the weather.

We’re fortunate in that things have been relatively quiet during Hurricane Season 2006.

The first possible hurricane was Tropical Storm Chris and it played out before it could reach Category 1 status. And it wasn’t even a threat to the Cayman Islands.

For many hotels, business is back to pre-Hurricane Ivan levels. For those who don’t know, Ivan was a catastrophic hurricane that damaged more than 90 per cent of the buildings on Grand Cayman. Many were destroyed. Recovery from that storm has been a long, drawn out process for us all.

But vital to our economic survival was the revival of our tourism product.

While we may not see much activity from our Tourism Department on a day-to-day basis, we can be assured everyone in the industry is working hard to regrow and improve Cayman’s product.

Their dedication and hard work are to be commended.

Just one glance at the Department of Tourism’s website shows what its been doing to lure visitors to paradise.

Cayman Summer Splash is a programme running until 4 September.

Those who sign up can get 50 per cent off kids’ airfare on Cayman Airways; up to 50 per cent off kids’ watersports and diving; an additional night free after booking a minimum four-night package; and additional savings at restaurants, rental cars and various attractions.

Several hotels, condos, resorts, restaurants, retailers and attractions have signed on to the Summer Splash to make our visitors’ stay affordable and fun.

It shows that if we all work together we can provide a tourism product that will attract stay over visitors who will come back time and time again to renew newfound friendships.

To our visitors, welcome to paradise. We’re glad you’re here.

To those in the tourism industry, congratulations, you’re doing an excellent job.