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
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.