ACT responds to cruise berthing remarks

The Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism has said it is delighted to see cruise berthing and the issue of allowing cruise ships to stay longer in port on the agenda of the current government.

The private sector tourism group said they welcome discussion on initiatives to improve and enhance the experience of all the guests that visit these shores from cruise ships.

A press release from the cruise group referred to remarks made by the Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush, reported in last Thursday’s (30 July) Caymanian Compass.

Minister Bush was speaking at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon and raised the issue of allowing cruise ships to stay longer in port by letting their on-board revenue areas operate. He also discussed the subject of berthing facilities.

The cruise group pointed out that looking at year to date cruise tourism arrivals it is clear that Cayman is still underperforming with a six per cent reduction from 2008 to 2009 and a 22 per cent decline from 2007 to 2009.

There is now significant competition in the Caribbean amongst islands vying for cruise tourists and this is exemplified by the significant investment being made in berthing facilities in such areas as Roatan, Grand Turk, Falmouth in Jamaica and Cozumel.

‘It is important for the long term success of cruise tourism in the Cayman Islands that we compete effectively,’ said the group.

‘As the minister rightly commented, without a berthing facility Cayman cannot serve a certain class and size of vessel and it is more often these days that the very demographic of visitor that Cayman works hard to attract is sailing on the newer and more prestigious ships that the cruise lines launch.’

ACT noted that cruise tourism provides significant economic benefits to Cayman both directly through the spending of cruise tourists with local operators as well as indirectly through the exposure of these islands to potential stay over visitors.