Cayman Islands aren’t on approved list
The Chinese government has released
its approved destinations list, but the Cayman Islands do not feature.
The list of 112 countries and
territories was first introduced in the early 1990s for Southeast Asian
destinations, including Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Prior to the advent
of approved destinations, government approval was needed for travel other than
business and official purposes, but since then there has been an increase in
interest in travel by Chinese citizens and increases in disposable income.
The intent, according to the China
Outbound Travel Handbook, is to have a control mechanism on the organising
parties on both sides, such as travel agents and tour operators, in order to
guarantee safe and reliable tourism.
“[Approved Destination Status] is
granted to overseas destinations through a bilateral government agreement. The
ADS only concerns tourism groups handled by assigned Chinese local travel
agencies. Business and official travel to overseas destinations are not
included in ADS agreements,” read a statement.
Currently, Caribbean territories on
the official approved list include Antigua, Barbados, Bahamas, Cuba, Dominica
and Jamaica. The United States is also on the list of countries with approved
In order to appear on the list,
countries must also ensure that possible illegal immigration through tourism
channels is monitored by Chinese and foreign agencies.
“Embassies and consulates apply
different methods to monitor the return of the Chinese tourists. Whenever a
tourism group member does not return to China, the local travel agency is held
responsible and sanctions are applied. Only certified ADS travel agencies are
allowed to promote and organise tourist groups including visa application and
payment of foreign currency to foreign parties. Each of the certified travel
agencies must assign special couriers to handle the visa application procedure.
“Countries without an ADS agreement
are not allowed to receive tourism groups from China or to promote their
destination in China for tourism and are restricted to business and official
travel groups only,” said the handbook.
However, observers have already identified Cayman as having all the attributes
and potential to attract tourism from China.
Analyst Pierre Gervois of travel
experts China Elite Focus told the Cayman Free Press earlier this year that the
demographic of the traveller from China may already be on a longer trip and
could therefore include Cayman on their itinerary.
“They may choose to come to Cayman
Islands to buy very expensive jewellery, watches, and pieces costing several
hundred thousand dollars. This particular tourist can spend a really huge
amount of money. It’s not a problem that it’s far because if they already go to
New York or LA it’s absolutely do-able to spend a couple of days in Cayman