During the past year, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism spent $208,000 on major sponsorships of seven separate events, according to information released following an open records request.
The department spent $50,000 on Legends Tennis in November; $40,000 on the Cayman Thanksgiving Homecoming concert in December; $40,000 on the Jazz on the Green concert in March; $28,000 on the Orlando Magic basketball camp in July; $20,000 on Pirates Week in November; $15,000 on the Cayman Islands Invitational Track Meet in May; and $15,000 on the Flowers Sea Swim in June.
The information provided by the department identifies sponsorships of more than $10,000. The department’s information manager said he will also send data on sponsorships costing less than that amount.
When asked how the department determines which events to sponsor and how much money to spend on the event, the department’s Public Relations Manager Gina Matthews responded by e-mail, “By referencing sponsorship criteria and benefits to destination and through consideration by senior management team on available budget.”
According to the e-mail, sponsorship decisions are made by Director of Tourism Shomari Scott in collaboration with senior management.
Ms Matthews said the department has standardised sponsorship criteria, draft agreements and applications forms that are available on the department’s websites for organisations to seek funding for their events. The Caymanian Compass was unable to locate those documents on the department’s website, and as of press time had not received specific instructions from the department on how to access those documents.
When asked if the department performs cost-benefit analyses to estimate potential returns on the department’s investments on particular sponsorships, Ms Matthews said, “Yes we do. For example, media coverage is monitored and equivalency values are reviewed. Additionally, the sponsorship agreement requests the partner provides information on return on investment following the event.”
Ms Matthews said, “The sponsorship agreement requests the partner provides information following the event and depending on the size/nature of the event, the DOT may request a face-to-face recap meeting.”
Of the seven events, in six instances the department appears on printed or online material as a sponsor of the events. However, the department does not appear as a sponsor of the Cayman Thanksgiving Homecoming concert on visual materials.
Ms Matthews said that’s because the department agreed to sponsor the event on “short notice”. She said the department was mentioned as a sponsor in radio advertisements for the event.
The concert showcased three local bands, ThE iZ, Thanks & Praises and Swanky Kitchen Band. The concert kicked off the Cayman Thanksgiving celebration.
The seven events received funding and support from other organisations besides the department. For example, Cayman Free Press or its publications have at some time helped sponsor all of those events, except for the basketball camp.
Additionally, Cabinet provided the Tourism Attraction Board with more than $325,000 in 2011 for Pirates Week and associated activities. Cabinet also provided $7,724 to the Flowers Sea Swim.