Tourism targets dive fraternity

The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in Europe is targeting the diving industry.

“Research has told us they are more aware of Cayman Islands than the average man in the street is, so we’re trying to turn that awareness into actual bookings,” said Don McDougall, regional manager for Europe.

“We’re stepping up the number of events we are going to in 2011.

We’re going to be at Le Salon de la Plongée in Paris, Eudi in Milan and the Madrid dive show, as well as the London International Dive Show. We find that trade that come over from Cayman, be they dive operators or whatever, tend to do very well when they come on our stand. We do it to promote Cayman Islands to a wider public and also create a free platform for dive hoteliers or operators to work off should they wish to do so,” he said.

Martin Clunes

Mr. McDougall also revealed that a programme about stingrays, which was recorded in Cayman earlier this year and hosted by UK television star Martin Clunes, is to air on premier British commercial channel ITV on 6 January.

Culinary Month was also attracting attention, particularly as UK chef Rachel Allen will be appearing. He also noted that the Sunday Times newspaper recently featured a large article about Cayman following a journalist’s visit to the island with the Department of Tourism.

A new UK advertising campaign will be launched in January, he added.


  1. Sorry, but this a complete waste of time, money and effort until Cayman can provide affordable accommodation for visiting divers.

    The dive industry travel business is very competitive and right now there are too many cheaper, better or simply more convenient alternatives for the European diver. As an example I can go to the Maldives for roughly what it costs to go to Cayman and travel all inclusive to the Red Sea for only slightly more than the return air fare to Cayman.

    What this is going to end up with, based on previous experience, is a series of expensive FAM trips (freebies to you and me) for selected members of the media and dive industry and very little actual revenue-earning business.

    In fact it could backfire, with a few divers being attracted by the media exposure then finding out how expensive everything is and going home to post warnings on the dive travel forums – that has happened before in the UK.

    Dont get me wrong, Caymans dive industry is world class but it is let down by the fact that somone coming from Europe is looking at paying well over US1000 per person for air fares and then something like US200 a night for a basic room plus their diving, meals and other holidays expenses.

    As for Martin Clunes – LOL! Ive seen the trailers for this and I dont think think his antics are going to attract many serious divers.

  2. Until there are some affordable hotels to stay in this is pie in the sky – in fact probably counterproductive, as John Evans says below.

    The fundamental problem facing Caymans tourist industry is that it is a blindingly expensive place to visit – and not just in terms of accommodation. Food and drink are higher than US or European prices, and tourists from those countries will expect to be paying less, not more.

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