Tourism policy review under way

The public is being openly invited to give its input into the redrafting of the National Tourism Management Policy, which will shape a course for Cayman Islands’ tourism over the coming years.

The review and update of the NTMP begins this week, said Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford at a press briefing on Friday.

This process results in having a new or modified tourism policy in place for the period from 2008 to 2012.

The update of the NTMP will involve a great deal of consultation with key government agencies and stakeholders, not just of the tourism industry, but also of the Cayman Islands as a whole, said the Minister.

He added that an aggressive timeline is being used so that implementation can begin as quickly as possible.

‘To achieve this goal it is essential that we have the views of all stakeholders on the future of tourism in the Cayman Islands, particularly as they pertain to the tourism product and to the factors, both internal and external, which impact or affect its sustainable development.’

The existing 2002 – 2007 NTMP document and a questionnaire to be filled in are both available online at www.caymanislands.ky/ntmp for the public’s review. The questionnaire is also to be provided this week as a hard copy insert in local newspapers.

The contract for the review and updating of the NTMP has been awarded to The Tourism Company out of the United Kingdom, with the company’s principle Chris Evans due on island this week.

The Minister explained that in December 2006 the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Tourism issued a request for proposals for the review and update of the NTMP.

‘Although the contract amount for the project was less than that for which Government requires a formal tender process, the MoT and DoT went to all lengths to ensure that an open and transparent tender process was used, thereby allowing any consultant with the requisite project experience and technical expertise to submit tenders.’

The Minister added that once proposals were received and assessed by the judging panel, comprising representatives from the MoT and DoT, the contract was awarded to The Tourism Company.

In 2002, the NTMP came into effect with a view to providing a clear policy direction for the development of tourism in the Cayman Islands, said the Minister.

‘The NTMP sought to assist in the re-positioning of the Cayman Islands’ tourism product and it offered an approach for how the demands of the tourism sector should be met.

‘The tourism public and private sectors came together, embracing the NTMP as the way forward to achieving a sustainable form of tourism development, and began working towards a common goal – that of implementing the many recommendations of the NTMP.’

Minister Clifford said that the implementation plan adopted in 2002 was not successful. ‘The private sector volunteer base was critical for strategic oversight and long term planning, but it was not feasible for those same private sector volunteers to be responsible for implementing strategies which would require countless hours of time, above and beyond those which they needed to keep their businesses running.

‘Add to this time challenge the havoc which was Hurricane Ivan, and in the years since it became apparent that not only did we need to update the NTMP so that it adequately addressed the needs of tourism post Ivan, but also that we had to re-engineer the implementation process so that the policy could be put into effect as efficiently and quickly as possible.’

The review of the NTMP will take place across all three islands and will see the dissemination and collection of questionnaires, meetings with stakeholders, a review of the existing policy, the current market product and identification of key discussion issues.

In the preparation of the Draft Review document the consultant will further analyse the materials, objectives, and feedback from stakeholder meetings.

During the consultation phase there will be an internal review of the re-drafted strategy, stakeholder workshops, and distribution of the draft report to stakeholders for comment and discussion.

For the final draft, the report can be amended as required to meet suggestions emerging from the consultation phase, with a final presentation to MoT and DoT, followed by government approval and the implementation of the plan.

‘I invite all members of the community to fully participate through any of the channels of feedback which will be provided,’ said the Minister. ‘In one way or another, tourism benefits and impacts everyone living in these islands. It is only fitting that we all take a few moments to provide valuable input.’

He added that the number of cruise passengers recommended to visit the island daily will be looked at in the update of the NTMP, but that a separate policy is needed to address this issue.

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