Tourism group backs new hospital

Cayman Islands Tourism Association
members are certain that medical tourism has a place in the Cayman Islands.

They heard a presentation last week
from Gene Thompson of the new Narayana Cayman University Medical Centre.

“The magnitude, complexity,
investment and international recognition of this project is overwhelming and
every aspect of it has a substantial positive impact on the Cayman Islands,
including tourism, which desperately needs all the help it can get today,” said
CITA President Harry Lalli. “Right now, the tourism industry in the Cayman
Islands is suffocating from a perfect storm of increased fees, decreased
services, decreased visitors and a declining population, and a project like
this has the ability to put hundreds of millions of dollars into government
immediately and billions over the life of the project. That can give tourism
and all businesses here the breathing room to get back to profitability and
more so, to begin to grow again.”

CITA Director Hugh Treadwell said
there were some very important takeaways from the presentation, most notably
that of the forecasted US$2 billion in capital expenditure, US$200 million
would be spent in the first two years; investments in the hospital and
accommodations will total US$200 million in the first phase; an additional
10,000 rooms will be needed by 2024 and this will generate US$1.2 billion in
construction spending; room tax will generate US$4.4 million in 2013 growing to
US$56 million by 2024; tourists arrivals are to increase by 87,600 for 2013 and
continue up to a 1 million increase by 2025. “It goes without saying that the
impact of all this will be of substantial benefit to the finances of the
country and to all businesses here. The tourism aspects of the project are
widespread and diverse and will really provide a lot of opportunity for
everyone working in all tourism-related businesses,” said Mr. Treadwell.

“Medical tourism is a very big
international industry primarily based in India and Thailand and now growing
rapidly across into our region. It has already shown huge success in Costa Rica
and Cuba in the Caribbean,” Mr. Lalli said. “For years, many people have been
travelling to India from the United States and this offers them a far closer
destination. We all know that somebody coming for treatment is accompanied by
other family members who will need accommodation, food, etc., and that is the
major aspect of this project for tourism businesses here. The Narayana Hospital
can provide numerous benefits for all Cayman Island businesses and especially
tourism businesses that far outweigh the government revenue and impressive
medical aspects alone. I think I speak on behalf of our members in saying that
we wish this project the best and look forward to it getting started as soon as
possible.”  Mr. Lalli and directors Bud
Johnson and Mr. Treadwell were joined by Melissa Ladley from the Ritz-Carlton,
Chris Creighton from t he Marriott Beach Resort, Ken Thompson from Sunset House
and Tom Mason from Comfort Suites for the presentation.

CITA background

The Cayman Islands Tourism
Association was formed in March 2001, through an amalgamation of the Cayman
Tourism Alliance and the Cayman Islands Hotel and Condominium Association. CITA
represents tourism businesses from all sectors, including hotels, condominiums
and villas, water sports operators, restaurants, attractions, airlines, tourism
transport providers, cruise sector businesses and allied tourism service
providers. CITA represents almost 200 tourism businesses and is active in the
areas of industry and government relations, marketing and events, industry
development and education.

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