The cliché about clouds and silver linings is one because it happens to be true. And in the case of the Cayman Islands, the recent economic downturn allowed people to reassess their surroundings.
What that led to, said Erin Bodden of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, was a realisation, or reminder, of the beauty of the Cayman Islands and the multitude of things to do here.
“It all came about when the economy went kaput so it has been important for us to generate more business for the local economy. Also, it is so important for our residents. Some people cannot afford a plane ticket to hop on a plane to Europe. We live in paradise, so why not take advantage of it?
“I went on a Staycation recently and had a blast; I remembered why I lived here. You can get so caught up in your day-to-day tasks that you forget what’s on your doorstep,” Ms Bodden said.
In 2009, the association spearheaded the Staycation initiative which is supported by the Department of Tourism.
Local businesses including restaurants, hotels and watersports operators offer specials to residents during the summer, enabling people to take a vacation in a location that millions of people around the world would love to – but cannot afford to – visit.
“The uptake from the business community has been great,” Ms Bodden said.
“They really appreciate the local business and a lot of them, in their offers, will mention that they have year-round offers that people can take them up on.”
Take time out
Indeed, taking some time out is often difficult with the pressures of day-to-day existence often meaning that relaxing and enjoying the Cayman Islands gets put onto the back burner.
“Life gets the better of us sometimes with groceries, laundry, taking the kids out, things get busy with work,” she said. “It’s important to take advantage of the fact that we live on this island with all the beauty around us.
“For example, why not go to the Botanical Park, it’s beautiful,” Ms Bodden said.
“You can see what it’s all about so you can talk about it to people when they come to visit and promote our island and be proud. If you live in West Bay or George Town, go to the East End – it is the perfect place to escape; it is so quiet and peaceful and away from it all that you really will feel like you are getting away.”
The experience also of going to a hotel can be an incredibly relaxing one, she said.
“You can just drop it all, let it all go, the same as you would if you went off-island on vacation to wherever.
It’s important to unwind. Many residents have come to Cayman from elsewhere and fallen in love with the island for one reason or another. It is about rekindling that relationship,” Ms. Bodden said.
The current offers for Staycation are based in all districts of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.
For up to date information, please visit www.staycation.ky