Safety and security information to be distributed
The tourism industry has slammed crimes targeting tourists.
“All crime is unacceptable. We all have an obligation to fight crime and fight those who choose a life of crime,” said Eric Bush, chairman of CrimeStoppers Cayman.
“Those who are responsible need to understand what they are doing to their brother, sister, mother, father, cousins and friends.”
On 8 February, Cayman CrimeStoppers published a series of safety and security tips for visitors in the Caymanian Compass as well as on the CrimeStoppers website, added Mr. Bush, but even with effectively distributed information some incidents could still occur.
“In my view, it’s one thing to advise people to be vigilant in their surroundings to make sure they don’t make themselves an easy target for the criminal element but [in the East End robbery incident] from my understanding the tourists that were there didn’t do anything wrong.
“They weren’t there late at night; the beach that they were at is a secluded area but a well-known one for tourists to go and in large part is a safe place. In relation to that event, I don’t think any further tips or advice can be provided. It was just a very unfortunate event and I hope the police catch them.”
Mr. Bush said that he talked with visitors regularly and always asked them whether they still felt safe in the Cayman Islands.
“I would say 98 or 99 per cent always say yes. It’s trying to find that balance between reminding people of their responsibility for safety and security vs. blowing it out of proportion and causing so much hype and propaganda in [that process] that you are creating animosity and anxiety with them as well so it’s a fine line we all have to try and balance.”
Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, said Cayman is still considered to be a safer destination than other Caribbean islands.
“People do not get hassled or haggled in the streets the way that they might do in other places. We do not want to portray something that is not accurate because it is still a safe and friendly destination – but we do want visitors to be aware [of security and safety] so they can be smart when they are on vacation.”
She said that the reality is that Cayman markets itself as a family friendly destination.
“Safety is one of the key components that is at the top of people’s minds when people think of the Cayman Islands, so we want to make sure we maintain that.
“There’s a fine line in how we can educate our guests in the right way so they are aware of what they need to do, vs. scaring them and it’s something that’s critical.”
Because the Cayman Islands Tourism Association represents over 200 tourism-related businesses, it has the ability to share and disseminate information. Crime prevention is regularly under discussion at meetings, continued Ms Christian.
Some of the accommodations on Seven Mile Beach already share safety info and there has also been a meeting with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service regarding security.
Ms Christian added that at their February meeting, CITA and the Department of Tourism will discuss how the private and public sectors can work together to effectively distribute safety advice.
“Some of the brand properties already have their own company standard on how they present that information but we have talked about developing something again for the non-branded companies that maybe do not.
“There used to be a Sir Turtle Campaign [and there will be] some discussions with the Department of Tourism and their PR department… as to whether we can develop some tourist friendly, safety collateral. We will make sure we can resurrect something like that as a joint initiative.”