Letters to the Editor: Tourism policies did work

Tourism is one of the main sources
of revenue in the Cayman Islands.

The governments of 1992 to 2000 of
which we were Ministers developed tourism and increased tourists arriving by
air to reasonable numbers in 1999. 
Sadly, in the 11 years since then no government has ever reached those
numbers. An air arrival tourist contributes far more than a cruise tourist.

Our governments had a good tourism
five and ten year plan during these eight years. The then-minister of tourism directed
Cayman’s advertising to bring in air arrival tourists, mainly from North
America, who were in the $100,000—and upwards annual income bracket. These are
the tourists who can afford to spend most money locally. Tourism flourished.

We are proud that almost all of the
major hotels and many condominiums were started or completed during our years
as ministers.

The policy on cruise ship
passengers was to attract the smaller boutique expensive cruise ships to come
to Cayman. These passengers can afford to spend more money locally. Cruisers
from large ships spend little if anything in ports as they cannot afford to do
so (a seven-day cruise can cost as little as US$400). Our tourism policy had a
maximum number of cruise ships and passengers per day of eg maximum five ships,
which should have as many expensive boutique small ships as a priority and a
maximum of 5000 passengers.

Mass cruise tourism is not suitable
for a small place like Cayman. To adopt one former ministers words, “it
clutters up” George Town. The air tourists and the cruise tourists from
expensive boutique ships who can spend money will not come to cluttered ports
nor will the air arrival tourists.

These policies were very
successful. Our governments had eight years of successes – audited accounts and
surpluses each year and only small borrowings of about $40 million increase in
eight years to prove this. These tourism policies should be studied, updated,
amended and implemented.


John McLean  

Truman Bodden


  1. With all due respect to these two worthy ex-politicians…

    What exactly is your point being made here ?

    1992 is almost 20 years ago.

    Do these gentlemen not realise how much tthe world, and the Cayman Islands, have changed within that time ?

    The world that was flush with money during their time of tenure is not the same world flushed with the same money now, of which Cayman had its fair share of opportunities to benefit from.

    Maybe these two gentlemen are not aware that in the year 2011, the 100,000 bracket of tourist is looking for locations that will give them full value for their money and that the Cayman that used to provide them with that is not the Cayman of today.

    If these two ex-politicians would like to contribute something worthy to re-establishing tourism in Cayman at anywhere near the level they are reminiscing of, they might use their considerable experience to proivide suggestions on how to get Caymans unemployed youth back to work and curb the crime rate that is now squeezing the life out of Cayman and its tourism product.

    People can bleat about expats all they want, most of the crimes of economic opportunity being committed in Cayman now are being committed by young, unemployed Caymanians and a refusal to acknowledge and accept this fact will only see the problem getting worse, before it gets better.

    Love or loathe McKeeva Bush, there is one thing anyone can say about him; he understands macro-economics better than any of yesterdays or todays current crop of politicians.

    No one has done more to build Caymans modern economy than he has and is still trying to do.

    He certainly doesnt need these two sniping from the sidelines, attempting to undermine his efforts, which must include major cruise ship tourism, which he established in the first place.

    If it were not for cruise ship tourism, many Caymanians would not eat food; ask the taxi drivers if you dont believe me.

    If these two gentlemen wish to contribute something positive to Cayman, they should either come out of political retirement or bring some positive suggestions to the public…

    or stay out of it all together.

  2. I agree completely with the premise of this article and this mass cruise tourism is hurting the island, especially with the stay-over higher end visitors. Do we really need 3-4 Carnival cruise ships per day?

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