Tourism pros hit top topics

Lots of folks are getting their ducks in a row for the upcoming General Election in May, 

And the Cayman Islands Tourism Association is no different. 

The association held a general membership meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the top six issues effecting tourism in the Cayman Islands. 

After listening to comments and suggestions, CITA board members will draft a proposition paper stating its stance on each of those six issues, which will more than likely be brought up by candidates seeking office in 22 May polling. 

 

The six items are: 

Cruise business 

Immigration 

Cost of doing business 

Stayover tourism/airport 

Gaming 

Environment 

For each item, members discussed desired outcomes, CITA’s role, characteristics and things that can be done in the meantime. 

For cruise tourism, the desired outcome is to develop new and improving existing relationships with all key cruise tourism stakeholders; the immediate overall and ongoing enhancement of all guest experiences for cruise visitors with a goal of converting 5 per cent per year to stayover visitors; and prioritise the process to develop berthing facilities while addressing the short-term Grand Cayman cruise customer experience during the time until berthing facilities are completed. 

Members agreed that the Cayman Islands should have a transparent immigration process while developing a population growth management strategy. 

A hot topic among members is the cost of doing business in the Cayman Islands. 

“Shortfalls of revenues are punishing the industry with excessive increases in fees. The goal is to evaluate excessive spending by new projects of the Island with excessive tax incentives and evaluate the impact to existing business and the impact of increases in duties and their impact to the industry. Make elected official responsible to operate within the budget and create an annual decrease in fees and eliminate long term incentives for new investors increasing the cost of doing business,” stated the working paper for discussion at the meeting at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort. 

CITA members agreed that there should be more air arrivals to allow their businesses to grow and become more profitable.  

As for gambling “the Cayman Islands Tourism Association recognises that gaming is a controversial topic for tourism in the Cayman Islands. The pros and cons of gaming should be carefully weighed before making any such recommendation to the Government. The World Casino Directory website says there are at least 15 island nations with casino gaming. The Cayman Islands have never had legalised gambling and the development of the country’s tourism product to date has explicitly excluded gaming.” More study will be done on the subject before the position paper is produced. 

All at the meeting agreed that the environment in the Cayman Islands is tantamount to the tourism industry and as such will develop positions on the yet-to-be passed Conservation Law, marine park expansions, grouper protection and lionfish management. 

CITA Board of Director Members will take suggestions and comments gleaned from the meeting and form their recommendations on the six topics. 

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