CITA: Small Business Challenges

Read our article in the Cayman Financial Review Magazine, eversion 

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association membership is comprised of over 200 hotels, condos/villas, allied, watersports, attractions, transportation and restaurant members. Many of our members are small business owners that struggle to stay in business every day due to the rising cost of doing business in the Cayman Islands.

The aim of every small business owner is to set realistic, specific and measurable goals to operate and grow a successful business.

Small business owners have four main challenges they face on a daily basis.

  • Utility costs
  • Term limit restrictions (rollover)
  • Crime and safety
  • Immigration

Utility costs are on a constant rise with the biggest increase in electricity and water. CITA attended a recent meeting with the CUC and was delighted to hear that that CUC is actively looking at alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and natural gas to reduce the costs of providing electricity to residential and commercial accounts. As diesel prices continue to rise, so will the electricity costs. It is imperative that companies like CUC look to the future for creative and viable solutions.

Term limit, or rollover as most commonly known, was introduced in 2004 with the first people rolled over in 2006. On 20 October, 2011, the two-year Term Limit suspension was introduced and in December 2011 the public was requested to express its opinions for an official report.

The term limit suspension has helped many small business owners survive for another year or two as it can be devastating to small businesses to lose the individual that essentially runs or manages their business. The CITA has requested its members to participate in the term limit public survey so they can have a voice in the survey results. The CITA will keep close tabs on the results of the survey and hope for positive changes to the Term Limit policy.

Crime is on the rise everywhere in the world and Cayman prides itself on having fairly low crime rate in the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands promotes its destination as a safe and friendly island and the CITA had an open dialog with the commissioner of police to increase police presence in tourist areas.

There is police presence at the cruise ports, in the downtown areas and along the 7-Mile Beach corridor. CITA continues to work together as a cohesive unit with the RCIPS in keeping Cayman as safe as possible.

Immigration challenges continue to be among the top concerns for small business owners. The rising immigration fees and the work permits not granted can be challenging for a small business owner. Immigration, however, is not ignoring this fact, they are working with the CITA to understand the tourism needs of specifically trained seasonal workers so Cayman can continue to offer top quality services and products to our visitors.

With the new Immigration On-Line website being launched, the business owner should be able to efficiently manage their immigration needs.

Being a small business owner is a challenge of itself, but with the support of entities like the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and The Chamber of Commerce, we offer members a strong voice to advocate changes to tourism and business issues that affect our daily lives. Membership offers leadership and guidance through the associations and its members.

For more information:
Jane van der Bol
Executive Director
Cayman Islands Tourism Association
T:    949.8522
E:    [email protected]