Cruising along the beach in East End in an open sided Range Rover, an unusual sight appears – a tree festooned with washed up flip-flops collected from the beach.
It’s a piece of secluded shoreline revealed thanks to an excursion aboard a Cayman Safari Adventures tour, one of Cayman’s newest tourism companies.
But what might have been even more of a surprise was the identity of the tour guide that day – former Cable and Wireless CEO Tim Adam.
‘Having grown up around the airport with my parents in the airline business for many years, I have always been fascinated by the tourism industry and over the years had often thought if I ever got out of the telecom field, doing something in tourism could be a lot of fun and very rewarding,’ said Mr. Adam.
Mr. Adam’s presence as a Cayman Safari Adventures tour guide is no accident. In fact, the company was started up by his son Matthew along with David and Susana Bowerman, and the elder Mr. Adam has been acting as the company’s business advisor and now, backup tour guide.
The Bowermans say the idea for the company came from a tour they experienced in the Pacific islands. They thought it would be great to provide a similar adventure here in Cayman.
‘We wanted to share the authentic heritage of our islands in a fun, exciting way that is fresh and different from anything else available here,’ said Mr. Bowerman.
Matthew Adam said they decided to offer guests an open-air safari in the Eastern districts where Cayman’s history, heritage and culture are still very evident.
‘Back in 2007 when Matthew, David and Susana were going through the initial stages of getting the company and tour bus licenses and procuring the vehicles, they spoke with me about their plans and I made a commitment that when they got through the licensing procedure I would be their business consultant to help them get Cayman Safari Adventures launched commercially and operationally,’ said the elder Mr. Adam.
Because of the product being offered and the type of vehicles used, the licensing process took about a year. By that time, Tim Adam had accepted an early retirement deal and from October 2008 onward was able to dedicate a large part of his time and attention to getting the safari designed and running.
‘I liaised with the Department of Tourism to develop standards and operating procedures, and took their PRIDE training, which, by the way, is an excellent customer service training and coaching system,’ he said.
‘I read lots of different authoritative sources on Cayman’s cultural and natural history and geography to develop the scripts for guides, designed the route and selected the stops, developed commercial and operational relationships with the various stops we chose to include, developed HR policies and processes, and advised the directors on a wide variety of matters to successfully launch the business,’ he added.
He also assists with recruiting, training and coaching the new guides, and has been filling in as a part-time guide while the recruitment process is running.
‘That has kept me very close with our customers and our product and also with the people at the various stops we make, so that we have been able to fine-tune and further enhance the unique experience that we offer our guests. There really is nothing else like it on the island.’
The safari takes groups of a maximum of eight per vehicle in open-air Range Rovers with a Caymanian guide to get up close and personal with Cayman’s culture and history, even offering guests the chance to munch on some Jamaican canned cheese and bulla – surprisingly tasty!
That up close and personal aspect is definitely something to keep in mind, as the seating makes for a bumpy, windy ride at times.
With stops at points of interest along the way, as well as a visit to Vivene’s Kitchen in East End for a light meal, guests are treated to a running history lesson as they take in the sights, including Pedro St James, the Botanic Park, and a quick lesson in weaving thatch from North Side’s Miss Gogo.
The younger Mr. Adam said the goal is to bring guests into close contact with the real Cayman and its people.
‘We also wanted to offer an enjoyable way to see the natural beauty of various spots around our island with the opportunity to stop and take photos,’ said Mr. Bowerman.
‘By having small groups, we are able to create a more personable, intimate family-like adventure.’
For further information call Susana Bowerman at 925-3001 or visit www.caymansafari.com