All it takes sometimes is one bad experience to ruin an otherwise good vacation.
If a bad experience happens at the very end of a vacation, it, being the last impression, is more likely to stick in a visitor’s mind.
It is therefore important that the Department of Tourism, the Cayman Islands Airport Authority, the Immigration Department, the checkpoint security company and the various airlines flying in and out of Grand Cayman work together to come up with a solution for the extremely long lines that occur at the airport on occasion.
Part of the problem is the timing of departures, which can bunch up during the afternoon. Another part of the problem is insufficient staffing of checkpoint security personnel and Immigration officers to handle the number of people boarding flights at peak departure periods.
The departure queues can take up to an hour and a half to get through, and sometimes the line-ups are so long people have to wait outside.
In addition, the departure lounge can become overcrowded, leaving long lines at the food and beverage concession and few empty seats for passengers.
This is exactly the kind of experience that can taint a tourist’s view of the Cayman Islands, especially if that tourist is a first-time visitor. In times when Cayman is struggling with dwindling tourism, we simply have to do everything we can to give our visitors a positive experience that will make them want to come back.
We understand that airlines want to fly when it’s most profitable; we understand that the Immigration Department has staffing limitations and the checkpoint security company doesn’t want to hire more people than are cost-efficient; we understand the airport departure lounge is only so big.
But none of that means the various entities can’t work together to find a solution that can improve the experience of our tourists.