The Cayman Islands Tourism Association hosted its 11th Annual General Meeting at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa on 15 April at 3.30pm in the Governor’s Ballroom. It was well-attended with standing room only space in the back of the room.
The meeting started with the welcome from Executive Director Jane van der Bol, and opening remarks from the President Harry Lalli. He noted that 2011 continued to be challenging for the industry.
“However, it was a very good year for Cayman Islands Tourism Association in its 10th year of operation as a unified tourism body,” he said.
He recapped the year of events and successes and said he was happy to see that through lobbying efforts the destination now had airlift into Panama to access the Central American market and from Dallas for the dive tourism market.
Mr. Lalli also reviewed the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s top priorities they continue to work toward and commented that the association would continue to work together with government and the private sector to improve the industry both in the short- and long-term goals.
Mrs. van der Bol continued with the Executive Director’s Report delivering 2011 and 2012 Cayman Islands Tourism Association highlights, Cayman Islands Tourism Association brand and member benefits, statistics for the year, tourism update and important upcoming events.
The executive director noted that the Kittiwake Marine Park was successful with and has improved membership by 26 per cent. The 24th Annual Taste of Cayman was the most successful to date in attendance, participation and financial return. The Underwater Film Festival and Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange were also successful programmes by the association.
She also advised the Cayman Islands Tourism Association Visitor Centre is doing well at 1320 West Bay Road handling questions and providing services to about 100 visitors a month. The Visitor Centre displays Cayman Islands Tourism Association member brochures and staffs the concierge desk six days a week.
Mrs. van der Bol went into detail about each event and promotion the Cayman Islands Tourism Association offers during the year including the Annual Stingray Tourism Awards, the Everyone Counts 2010 Census and its value as a critical planning tool as so many people who live in Cayman work in tourism. She discussed the air arrival and cruise statistics stating that air arrivals are up 7.2 per cent in 2011 and though cruise arrivals were down by 13 per cent that the first two months of 2012 showed a 13 per cent increase over 2011.
Mrs. van der Bol’s attention then focused on the well-received suspension of the work-permit rollover policy, the need for a cruise berthing facility providing it does not negatively impact the environment, and the potential opportunities presented to local entrepreneurs, shops, restaurants and small business owners with the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital and Cayman Enterprise City projects Owen Roberts International Airport developments and new gateways opened by Cayman Airways to Panama City, Panama and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
On a positive note, Mrs. van der Bol said that the World Travel and Tourism Council’s report stated that 25.7 per cent of total employment in the Cayman Islands is tourism-related, rising to 26.9 per cent in 2012.
Members then looked at Key to Cayman magazine, Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Official magazine, the newly designed Cayman Islands Tourism Association website and the new Cayman Islands Tourism Association mobile app.
The 2012-2013 Cayman Islands Tourism Association Board of Directors are:
Harry Lalli, Treasure Island Resort
Enrique Tasende, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort
John Wagner, The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa
Condo, Villa Sector
Harry Lalli, Treasure Island Resort
Sherry Lee, Cayman Villas
Markus Mueri, NM Ventures
Steven Hayes, TTR Group
Hugh Treadwell, Active Capital
Tim Adam, Cayman Turtle Farm
Water sports Sector
Ash McNight, Divers Down
Pete Foster-Smith, Sunset Divers
Brian Krug, Budget Rent-A-Car
Nigel Mitten, Majestic Tours
Ken Hydes, Camana Bay
Neil van Niekerk, SITA (Sister Islands Tourism Association)
Immediate Past President
Stephen Broadbelt, Ocean Frontiers
After the announcement of the new board of directors, Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Erin Bodden delivered a membership update and talked about the upcoming opportunities for professional development on 30 April and 1 May for members and locals during the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange programme. She also touched base on our upcoming Stingray Awards to be held in June this year.
The AGM was followed by Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Mix ‘n’ Mingle event offering members the opportunity to network and talk to new members and local businesses thinking of becoming members.