DoT touting Cayman’s culture

After a successful run of showcasing the Cayman Islands’ natural environment to the UK/European market, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s European office is now turning to other areas of promotion.

Undersea reef garden

Undersea reef garden

Don McDougall, the Department’s regional manager Europe said the latest idea is to move into capturing the Cayman Islands’ cultural side and culinary side.

‘We’re just investigating all the opportunities at the moment,’ said Mr. McDougall, who was visiting the Cayman Islands on business last week.

‘We’re down on island this week and meeting with people like Caybrew, Seven Fathoms, Tortuga, working with the culinary society, just as a way of harnessing what we have as a product so that we can then go out to the UK market, the European market and cherry-pick opportunities that can showcase Cayman in that light.’

On the arts side they are looking at performing arts, visual arts and will also choose certain opportunities that they feel will be effective.

‘It has to be cost effective because there’s no point in doing this with hundreds of thousands of pounds – you’ve got to do things on a cost effective basis that will then generate return through not just awareness, but actual visitation,’ Mr. McDougall said.

The UK Rumfest in London is one of the opportunities they are planning to seize.

‘It’s a three-day event which really brings the rums of the world together and then through that you can showcase the country.

‘It’s an area where we will create the platform for anyone producing rum or associated products here in the Cayman Islands to come and work with us and showcase their products to show the greater extent everything the Cayman Islands does through the culinary side of rum.’

The festival is towards the end of October and attracts about 7,000, but it will be just one of many events the DoT is targeting.

There’s also a series of tasting festivals which run across the UK through the summer months that they are hoping to tap into.

‘We went and saw the London one earlier this summer. It was in Regents Park and is sponsored by British Airways for its gold and platinum members, so again you can imagine the sort of level it’s being pitched at.’

Mr. McDougall estimates that the attendance is in the region of 30,000 to 40,000.

‘It’s high-end visitation, volume visitation but it also gets media interest. It’s just using different aspects of the Cayman Islands to promote the country – that’s really what it’s all about.’

Another recent high-profile UK event that the DoT made its presence felt at was the Chelsea Flower Show, which it exhibited at for the past two years in a row. Last year the DoT’s offering won awards and was one of the show’s major attractions for media and visitors.

Mr. McDougall said there was a high level of publicity and awareness that came from the show, which attracted 170,000 people and a wide television audience on the BBC.

‘It’s just using different aspects of the Cayman Islands to promote the country – that’s really what it’s all about.’ Don McDougall, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism regional manager Europe