Tourism forum deemed success

Tourism stakeholders say the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange 2011 was a success.

The conference took place from 2-7 May, and the latter days brought many industry partners to the islands for an update on the destination and what it has to offer.

There were also face-to-face appointments with local tourism providers and off-island travel agents and partners. Trina Christian of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association said the feedback has been very positive.

“[One pleasing thing was that] they absolutely loved the food on all the days, which was a real bonus. It was a side goal to us – to take care of them and put our best foot forward but also to highlight to them that we are the culinary capital of the Caribbean and we focused a bit on Culinary Month.

“They had a great experience with the food, which I feel was beneficial in terms of building our reputation.”

Workshop discussions

Workshops during the initial part of the week that were popular with delegates focused on a number of elements, such as the restaurant business, condo occupancy and how to work with Expedia.

“We had a really positive response from the marketing summit and workshops and will build on that and do the same thing next year,” Mrs. Christian said.

The workshop concept will be easier to expand for future years’ tourism exchanges and there may also be other workshops throughout the year, she said. A marketing round-table on Monday discussed partnerships between the private sector and the Department of Tourism in Cayman and in the United States.

“We touched on some important points, for example which trade shows the Department of Tourism finds beneficial so we may participate in them. And if one of our members cannot participate, we may go up as the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and participate if it is an important trade show for the destination,” Mrs. Christian said.

“The Department of Tourism is implementing a new customer management system so they will have an even greater ability to track the consumers they receive names from at the trade shows. This will be more detailed information, so we talked about ways we can serve those customers …”

Follow-up meetings are being scheduled with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the Tourism Advisory Council, the US tourism officials and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in order to continue the initial conversations that took place. The tourism association will also prepare a formal presentation to share the information from the summit and the workshop with the Cayman Islands Government at their scheduled monthly meeting.