The key to getting Caymanians interested in a career in tourism is simply to treat and pay them correctly.
That’s the view of Neil Burrowes, whose Dolphin Cove operation currently employs 15 Caymanians, among a staff of 45.
“This is a stepping stone for many of them; they are 18 or 19 years old and have a job where they are being managed,” Mr. Burrowes said. “That discipline moulds you for the workforce. It is a foot in the door; many need the education and in the past our employees have gone on to Ernst and Young and Maples and Calder.
“If you treat people well they will stay; you need patience of course, but we have taken kids from West Bay and some of the troubled schools,” he said. “I have loaned my staff money to help them out with things like car insurance and these guys respond and do a good job. Everybody in the tourism industry should try and hire young Caymanians. There is nothing they cannot do if they’re trained properly and paid a decent wage.”
Skills the staff learn include taking videos and photographs, transportation and reservations and store management. He said there was even a current intern working unpaid in order to learn how to be a dolphin trainer.
He said there were plans in place to introduce open water swimming with dolphins. In terms of potential markets, Mr. Burrowes said while the Curacao facility had assisted 400 people on its dolphin therapy scheme, mostly coming from the Netherlands and Germany, the Cayman facility had a figure of 20. Therefore, there may be a case to step back and reassess which markets would work best for Cayman.