The London 2012 Olympics promise to be the best Games ever and Cayman’s squad will be well supported thanks in no small part to businesswoman Betty Baraud who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last two decades to help fund athletes’ dreams.
Baraud hosted a special function in Cricket Square last week for members of Cartan Tours, the authorised sellers and agents for the Olympics for 40 countries, mostly in the Americas.
Based in Manhattan Beach, California, with offices in Chicago, Cartan Tours, which was founded in 1899, is one of the most successful travel companies in the US.
Donald Williams, Cartan Tours vice-president and Daniel Gamba, the sales director, made a presentation, highlighting their expertise in providing every aspect of travel to the Games since 1988. It included a video endorsement by NBA star Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.
Their service to London includes not just tickets but a round-trip airport service, daily transport packages and sight-seeing trips. Williams made a point of hailing Baraud for being the most accessible and accommodating of all the people they work with.
London announced its first allocation of tickets to authorised ticket outlets such as Cartan Tours last Thursday and Williams assured everyone that his company can get any tickets they want, but emphasised the importance of booking early.
Members of the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee were there, including the president, Donald McLean, secretary general Carson Ebanks, treasurer Bernie Bush and Annie May Roffey, the chief operating officer.
Baraud founded her recruitment agency, Baraud International, in Cayman in 1992. She said: “Cartan Tours will receive around 40 per cent of the tickets they request. They had hoped for about 60 per cent which has been the norm from past Games. The good news is, it appears they have received a significant amount of athletics tickets which many of our residents have expressed an interest in.
“On the other hand, allocation of tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies is much lower than what were received initially for the Beijing Games, so those interested in these particular tickets and accommodation, should think about requesting them now.
“We understand that London is under extreme pressure for these tickets, nevertheless, Cartan Tours will continue to work with the London Games organisers to increase quotas.
“Like all Games, the ticketing and housing process is a marathon and not a sprint, so everyone should book as early as possible, either through my office or direct from Cartan Tours. Anyone can request directly from Cartan Tours, we are simply coordinating this process.”
Baraud has not been involved in this process before, so she cannot speculate how many tickets will be sold through her company. However, with the large number of UK and European residents here, coupled with direct flights to London, it is assumed that a large number of tickets will be sold from the Cayman Islands. Realtor Kim Lund was at the function and he has definite plans to be in London next year.
Baraud’s next fundraiser is the ‘Cayman Conch Fest’ on 26 March. “Local vendors will be providing sumptuous meals of conch, cooked every which way, continuous music from 12 noon to midnight provided by a great line up of bands, This will be followed by ‘An Evening at Royal Ascot’ on 18 June.”
For more information, contact Baraud International, tel: 945-1781 email: [email protected]