CITA looks to new market

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association is suggesting a new tourist market for the Cayman Islands.

The market is LOHAS which is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.

CITA President Steve Broadbelt said: ‘It’s a very good fit for the Cayman Islands as a whole.’

Mr. Broadbelt said the tourism industry has to always look over its shoulder and see what its competitors are doing along with looking to new markets that can potentially fit the destination.

Mr. Broadbelt recently attended a seminar at which Ted Ning, Director of LOHAS, was speaking, and Mr. Broadbelt felt he was speaking about visitors to the Cayman Islands in describing the LOHAS customer.

‘I felt that we should start to align ourselves to that,’ he said, noting that it may speak to some loyal customers and also attract new customers that would not otherwise find themselves looking to come here.

Although it was too late at that stage to secure Mr. Ning as a speaker for the Cayman Islands’ Annual Tourism Conference which took place in September, it was agreed that he would come to speak at a later date.

‘The concept fits with spas and a healthy lifestyle with a green element and a consciousness about the environment. It seems to fit and it covers a large amount of people,’ he said.

‘I’m a big supporter of it. I’ve done a lot of homework on it and I think it makes total sense for us,’ he said.

He added that generally LOHAS consumers have a high income and may drive a hybrid car, for instance.

The Cayman Islands is making an effort to become a ‘greener’ tourist destination, with seven tourism properties taking on the ultimate goal of Green Globe 21 certification and the pursuance of Green Globe destination certification for Little Cayman.

According to the website www.lohas.com, LOHAS consumers, sometimes referred to as Lohasians, are interested in products covering a range of market sectors and sub-sectors, including: green building supplies, socially responsible investing and ‘green stocks’, alternative healthcare, organic clothing and food, personal development media, yoga and other fitness products, eco-tourism and more.

It adds that the consumers attracted to this market represent a sizable group. Approximately 19 per cent of the adults in the US, or 41 million people, or one in four adult Americans, are currently considered LOHAS consumers, research shows.

The website notes that their power as a consumer market remains virtually untapped.

Currently the main target market for the Cayman Islands in the US is still families and travel trade with dive and romance as extender markets. They are all sun, sea and sand seekers.

In 2008 the Department of Tourism embraced a tiered strategy of targeting visitors on a seasonal basis.

For instance, those coming in high season would have a household income of $300,000; those visiting in summer, when promotions are on, would have a household income of at least US$100,000; those visiting on an ongoing basis would have a household income of US$150,000.

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