Russian property buyers and possible tourists will be scoped out during a special trade summit in Moscow.
Dan and Angelika Martiuk of IRG International Realty Group will be attending the Global Edge Russian Summit (Property Conference and Exhibition) on 15 and 16 November with a view to sounding out potential purchasers, travel agents and representatives of agencies in that country.
Angelika Martiuk told the Compass that she and her husband would be meeting with Russian agents that specialise in selling real estate abroad.
“It is not just an exhibition or show where you have a booth and wait for people to come. Cayman real estate is different; people who would come here from Russia would not go to shows like that.
“We need to sell them really expensive real estate, so they can get permanent residency. There is a visa question, which depends not on local but British immigration. It is very hard [for them] to get a visa here although the law is changing all the time,” Mrs. Martiuk said.
That visa situation for homeowners who buy under a certain level of value has stymied the market to date, hence the need to target higher worth individuals, she added.
“If they come here the whole island will benefit; we are trying to get people who will rent boats, cars, buy souvenirs and gold, go to the restaurants. The Russian market is booming and every year there are more and more tourists travelling internationally.
“If you look at the data, Russians do not now need visas in a lot of countries as long as they have a return ticket and the funds. Even in the Bahamas, our direct competition, they can buy a visa at the airport, which is why they are all going over there instead,” she said.
The trip is to test the water and answer any questions about the financial and process side of real estate, she said.
Spreading the word
The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in Europe is sending some material to the Moscow hotel in order that the Martiuks can have information on hand about the islands themselves during the conference.
“I have several people who have contacted me back that are really interested in doing business in the Cayman Islands. What surprised me is that they asked very basic questions about how to get here, visa requirements, hotels and so on. They really have no idea about Cayman, so we will meet with them.
“If they come here, they will love it and then they will buy real estate. Nine out of 10 people who come here say they want to come again. I have already published two articles in real estate magazines in Russia, mostly about the destination rather than just pictures of houses and stuff. I try and give an idea of how beautiful and friendly it is here and I will use that in my speech at the event,” she said.
In the current economic situation, mused the real estate expert, it is important to think outside the box to try and stimulate demand, although she conceded that there were “no guarantees”.
Mrs. Martiuk added that she has been based in Cayman for 20 years, so is not entirely prepared in one sense for her visit.
“It is snowing in Moscow already and you need layers of coats, gloves and everything. I am trying to remember how cold it was – I will need to buy some things in our stop off in Toronto.”