Gala Parilla winners visit Cayman

The Cayman Islands welcomed Jody and Dana Reeser, the first set of prize winners from the Gala Parilla event held in Tampa, Florida during that city’s annual pirating event Gasparilla, which takes place in January of each year. 

Gala Parilla, a special events and marketing promotion hosted by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, Cayman Airways and the Pirates Week committee, was attended by more than 700 people from 60 pirating krewes from the Tampa Bay area and helped to raise awareness of the Cayman Islands Pirates Week Festival. 

Pirates Week Festival spokesman Bernie Bush said that the Cayman Islands had a unique connection with the more than 8,000 members of the pirate krewes from Tampa. 

“We were so pleased to be given the chance to strengthen our bonds with them at the Gala Parilla event,” Mr. Bush said. “Opportunities such as this enabled us to not only promote the Cayman Islands but also to further strengthen the ties between the Tampa Pirate Krewes and our national Pirates Week Festival committee.  

“We are certainly eager to welcome each and every one of the winners to our islands.” 


Pirate prizes 

Accommodations for the Gala Parilla prize packages were donated by individual tourism association providers such as Grandview Condominiums, which welcomed the Reesers in August. 

“We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed Grand View Condominiums and its amenities,” the couple said. 

Other participating Cayman Islands Tourism Association providers include Comfort Suites, Cobalt Coast Dive Resort, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, The Renaissance, Treasure Island Resort and the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa. 

“Gala Parilla provided the Cayman Islands a wonderful opportunity to utilise our Pirates Week Festival from a tourism perspective as we were able to reach individuals within the Tampa krewes, particularly those that travel to attend pirate festivals as a relevant part of their lifestyles. The members are also part of our target demographic and will not only travel in waves to see the festival but will also participate, allowing even further enhancement to the festivities,” said Shomari Scott, director of tourism in the Cayman Islands. 

As a result of this promotion in Tampa, a four-night Pirates Week package was created with Stephanie Phillips of Ships-n-Trips by working with various on-island partners and subsequently promoted to the various Pirate krewes. The response was overwhelmingly positive, said organisers, and has led to a charter flight with 90 people travelling from Tampa to the Cayman Islands on Cayman Airways from 7 to 11 November for Pirates Week. 

gala parilla

Vacation packages and chests of rums were given out during the Gala Parilla event early in 2012. – Photo: Joanna Lewis

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