Good-bye Boatswain’s Beach.
Hello Cayman Turtle Farm.
The adventure park is being
rebranded and renamed to Cayman Turtle Farm: Island Wildlife Encounter.
“The new name not only describes the
interactive nature of the facility through the use of the word encounter but
also reminds residents and visitors of the park’s older, familiar and popular
name, which has in effect really always remained in use anyway,” said the
Turtle Farm’s Managing Director Tim Adam.
Turtle Farm Board Chair Ken Hydes
said the board expects to be held accountable for the facility’s circumstances,
but expressed his gratitude for the chance to correct mistakes.
The Turtle Farm’s new vision
statement is for it to be “the Cayman Islands’
premier tourism attraction where visitors and residents enjoy a world class
experience, showcasing Caymanian wildlife and heritage while hosting an
internationally renowned research and conservation centre for sea turtles”.
Plans are to segregate the Turtle
Farm’s research facilities as a charitable non-profit. Mr. Adam said the aim is
for better access to local and international funding from inter-governmental,
institutional, corporate and individual grants and other donations, “while
improving the clarity of accountability for the stewardship of those types of
Mr. Hydes said management does not
want to give the perception that the name change means the farm’s problems will
be fixed, though it was “committed to getting off the government’s back”.
Since his arrival at the end of
January, Mr. Adam has been working with the Turtle Farm’s board to turn around
the money-losing facility. The board is taking a structured approach to reduce
operational costs, increase revenues, and reduce its debt.
The Turtle Farm was projected to
lose more than $9 million in this budget year and estimates show the farm lost
more than $11 million last year.
This year, 21 employees were laid
off and the remaining 87 staff members were required to take pay cuts between
five and 15 per cent.
Mr. Adam said cost-cutting is not
sufficient to remedy the problem, though “the days of having to come up with
new cutbacks and reductions are pretty much over and done”.
He said the hope is the new name
will make it easier to market the attraction, to inform local and overseas
visitors about the range of interactive wildlife experiences that can be found
at the 23-acre facility and to expand cooperation with domestic and international
The new name deliberately
eliminates any confusion around the word beach and the logo, which features a
turtle, a parrot, a shark and a silver thatch frond, are designed to remind
visitors about the attraction’s many different features.
“The turtle is a reference not just
to our historical residents and star performers here at the farm, as well as
our cultural past, but the symbol for the turtle is also a reminder of our
ongoing and world renowned science, research and conservation activities in
addition to the traditional turtle breeding and release programmes,” said Mr.
In addition to the turtles, the
facility’s attractions include an aviary, craft demonstrations and sales,
cultural activities, a salt water swimming lagoon, a freshwater pool and shark-feeding
According to Mr. Adam, the name
change is costing less than many previous marketing and publicity efforts and
the initiatives will be rolled out in phases.
“The Turtle Farm itself is footing
the bill from within its existing marketing resources and the payoff we believe
will more than justify our outlay; more than cover our expenses,” he said.
Nine action teams mostly headed up
by the Turtle Farm board of directors are tackling different aspects of the
rebranding and restructuring exercise to address the number of guests coming to
the park, improve revenues, enhance the attractions and communicate more
clearly with the rest of the world.
“We are renewing and revitalizing
our relationships with traditional tourism partners such as the cruise ship
organisations, the local Department and Ministry of Tourism officials, Cayman
Airways, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the various visitor
attractions in the Northwest Point neighbourhood as well as implementing new
marketing strategies to reach our objectives,” Mr. Adam said.
He said more focus will be placed
on stay-over tourists, and improving local public opinion by emphasising the
world-class science, research and wildlife rescue at the farm and through a
series of cultural events and programmes.
Other changes include better
signage, improving the mix of entertainment alternatives such as the
possibility of a water slide and/or a splash pool for children, more music and
culture, more shade and shaded seating and event scheduling. Mr. Adam noted
that on cruise days he hoped to have craft workers at the farm not only selling
but making crafts.
Banking on making the Turtle Farm
more of a cultural centre, Mr. Adam said he hoped the improvements would
generate a sense of national pride among Caymanians.
“Cayman Turtle Farm is one of a
kind in the world and our Islands’ people can
proudly point to the farm as a uniquely Caymanian facility, which has already
earned a world-class reputation for research, breeding, release and protection
of sea turtles,” he said.