Tourism leaders 
meet in Cayman

Tourism’s movers and shakers visited Cayman this month to update themselves on what the destination has to offer.

Wholesalers, media and travel professionals took part in the annual Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange, which brings together on-island providers with those charged with selling the destination around the world.

MLA Cline Glidden spoke at the opening ceremony, which was held at Hollywood Theatres in Camana Bay. He reiterated that Cayman has held its own of late in terms of tourist arrivals. The amount of weekly flights has risen from 96 to 105, and competition on fares following the introduction of the WestJet flight has stimulated the best-ever performance from the Canadian market. Although Europe ended 2010 3.8 per cent up on the previous year, with new connectivity agreements between Virgin Atlantic and Cayman Airways now in place, the destination hopes to grow that market. Indeed, the government is working on other arrangements with Euro carriers through the Miami and New York gateways which would also help.

He expressed his delight at the recent news that TripAdvisor reviewers listed Cayman as its top travel destination for the Caribbean and Mexico area, as well as voting the beach at Rum Point third in the Caribbean.

Increasing room stock

Harry Lalli, president of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association which arranged the event, said the intent was to improve numbers to the high point of 2008, while lobbying for the reduction of the cost of doing business and marketing the condos and villas sector, which is often overlooked. Persuading owners to move from long-term to short-term rentals could increase Cayman’s room stock without pouring any concrete, he added.

Delegates watched films about the Kittiwake, which accompanied a talk from project leader Nancy Easterbrook, and Culinary Month. Trina Christian of CITA revealed that 2012’s Culinary Month would run from 12 January to 14 February.

Shomari Scott, acting director of tourism, explained the new CaymanKind branding and talked the attendees through the process the Department of Tourism and other stakeholders have taken to get there.