Products are key

The Cayman Islands Tourism Ministry is hiring a deputy director to oversee product development and enhancement.

‘We’re serious about our product and we’re doing something about it,’ said Tourism Minister Charles Clifford after touring the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference Trade Show Tuesday.

It’s the first time Tourism will have a senior person dedicated to the industry’s products in the Cayman Islands.

‘FCCA has been saying to Cayman for four or five years that we need to do more with our product,’ he said. ‘And we have certainly been doing that.’

He refers to the new Boatswain’s Beach in West Bay, which is also home to the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm.

The Royal Watler Cruise Terminal at the George Town Harbour is another new attraction for cruise visitors and one that Cayman worked with FCCA to develop.

Add to that the Go East initiative, which is aimed at steering tourists to the eastern districts of Grand Cayman, and it’s clear the tourism industry has focused on product development.

But the burgeoning task of keeping the tourism product fresh is not a task for Cayman alone.

‘The whole issue of product development is something every Caribbean nation is facing,’ Mr. Clifford said. ‘You have to constantly review and continue to focus.’

The Cayman Islands is playing host to the largest FCCA conference ever held.

So far, Mr. Clifford said, it’s going great.

‘I think there are two reasons,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of people here who have not been to Cayman and I think it’s part of the maturing of the FCCA Conference’ in general.

The three-day conference gives the Cayman Islands a chance to showcase all it has to offer the cruising world.

Many of the 1,200-plus delegates here arrived early or are staying in the Cayman Islands after the conference is over.

It’s a chance for them to experience Cayman and Mr. Clifford hopes many of them will decide to return to the country as stayover guests.

But this conference isn’t just about cruise tourism.

Mr. Clifford said this is also a perfect opportunity to show cruise industry executives that financial side of the Cayman Islands.

‘There are a lot of people with the tourism industry here,’ he said. ‘There is a potential for added relationships with the financial sector. They may be so impressed with our business environment that they want to use our services.’

Mr. Clifford said the Cayman Islands is in a good position as far as cruise tourism is concerned.

‘I think we’re in good shape. I’ve heard nothing but good comments. We keep getting more and more cruise requests.’

The conference continues today with a conference closing party at the George Town Cruise Terminal tonight.

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