Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts has invited the management and staff of Divi Tiara Beach Resort to a meeting to discuss their concerns today.
The meeting will begin at 9am at the Aston Rutty Centre and is open only to the staff and management of the resort. A continental breakfast will be served.
Mr. Clifford said Wednesday in Legislative Assembly that deteriorating conditions rather than airlift capacity are to blame for the sudden announcement last Friday that Cayman Brac resort Divi Tiara will be shutting its doors permanently.
He was trying to offset claims made by Divi Tiara that insufficient airlift played a large part in their decision to close.
He said that while hotel room capacity has remained relatively unchanged in the Brac market, ‘A review of airlift for the past five years confirms that the number of seats into Cayman Brac has significantly increased and is in fact higher than has ever been available during that time.’
‘Of the 2,950 seats currently available, the average load factor is approximately 72 per cent, leaving over 820 available seats per month,’ he said.
Furthermore, he said that CAL Express regularly adds extra section flights to accommodate groups to the Sister Islands when the airline cannot accommodate groups on the regular schedule. These extra section flights are added at the normal fare rather than charging higher charter rates for the extra sections.
Mr. Clifford said that in 2003, the DOT recommended and the Hotel Licensing Board endorsed the closure of the Timeshare units and a portion of the Hotel because Divi was found unfit for tourist accommodation, and satisfactory upgrades were never made.
‘After Hurricane Ivan the property never regained minimum standards despite on-going efforts to work with them,’ he said.
‘Divi may not fully disclose all or even the real reasons behind its decision to close the Divi Tiara property but one thing is clear. They had not maintained the necessary standards for competitiveness and at times were found dangerously close to being ‘unfit’ for occupation.’
‘This marked lack of commitment to re-investing in the property’s refurbishment and upkeep is likely to have impacted the Divi Tiara’s guest satisfaction, repeat business and daily room rates,’ he said.
He also announced the Ministry of District Administration working in tandem with the Office of Employment Relations is seeking to ensure that staff concerns are addressed, and that the Department of Tourism is attempting to work with Divi’s Head Office in order to offer support to affected guests, dive operators and travel agents to mitigate negative impacts.