National Trust voices doubts over cruise project

The National Trust has warned the Cayman Islands could suffer significant “reputational damage” as a tourist destination if it moves forward with plans for new cruise piers in George Town harbor.

The Trust, in a statement released Wednesday, also questioned the economic benefits of the proposed facility.

“The Trust believes that there is room to question whether the investment in the Cruise Berthing Facility will yield the substantial improvement to the economy predicted by the Outline Business Case as the negative economic and environmental consequences are far reaching and in many cases irreversible,” notes the statement released by Christina Pineda, executive director of the Trust.

It adds, “Due consideration should be given to the reputational damage that may be caused to the Cayman Islands brand as a tourist destination.

“There has been a significantly negative reaction from the local residents as well as the international media to the proposed Cruise Berthing Facility and the environmental damage it will cause if implemented.”

The statement goes on to question the basis for the judgments in the Outline Business Case about the economic impact of the project.

“There is a significant lack of research and data to support the assumptions in the Outline Business Case, particularly with respect to direct passenger surveys and research on spending increase assumptions as well as loss of business if the Cruise Berthing facility is not constructed.”

The draft Outline Business Case, produced by PwC, suggested the project could create around 1,000 jobs and inject $250 million into the island’s economy over a 20-year-period. That estimate was based on an anticipated decline in arrivals of 1 percent per year, bottoming out at 1 million passengers if no action was taken, compared with a 1 percent annual increase up to a maximum of 2.3 million passengers if the new piers are built.

PwC’s final draft of the business case, factoring in the findings of the environmental impact assessment, including financial losses to water sports businesses in the capital, has been released to government members but not yet to the public.

The National Trust also queried whether cruise industry officials had ever said Cayman would be dropped as a destination if berthing facilities were not built.

Describing mitigation methods, such as coral relocation, as costly and complicated with limited chance of success, the statement adds, “The possible loss of this coral as well as the loss of or damage to the wreck of the Balboa, a victim of the 1932 hurricane and an irreplaceable part of Cayman’s history and heritage, is of particular concern to the Trust.”

It also warns that the scope and cost of upgrades to George Town’s infrastructure have not been adequately assessed.



  1. Voicing doubts is also saying "I am not sure", and once there is room for questions, it also means that answers may arise which can either prove the cruise pier being good or bad for the George Town harbor.
    I do understand the concerns of the Trust; that is their job, but sometimes they maybe spreading themselves too thin. There are too many unfinished and un-operational projects that need attending to; instead of spreading fingers on every single thing that pops up from the ground.
    "Due consideration should be given to the reputational damage that maybe caused to the Cayman Islands brand as a tourist destination" Fair enough, but Cayman Islands brand, extends way beyond the George Town Harbor.
    What has happened to the other districts, North side, East End Bodden Town, West Bay, which all have virgin coral and extreme lovely back drops for tourist adventure. No one is thinking about cruise tourism extending beyond the George Town Dock.
    "PwC’s final draft of the business case, factoring in the findings of the environmental impact assessment, including financial losses to water sports businesses in the Capital"?
    Is this opposition to the cruise pier about who will lose business and money. Have we really taken a look at the many businesses operating on the waterfront? Its crowded; and other parts of the island should be introduced to better pristine diving spots.
    Build the Pier, let us have over-night tourist like in the Bahamas, bus tours, and encourage visitors to explore other areas of the Island instead of just walking along Hog-sty Bay and seven mile beach. After-all there are people living on the other end of the Island.

  2. I would like to point out that there is one thing that the NCC, EAB, DOE and now National trust have in common with all of their statements. There is a a member/board member holding a position on all of these groups. Sometimes the agendas need to be investigated especially seeing as the National trust has not commented on (and especially not the economics of) any of the major developments carried out or proposed in Cayman.

  3. This is a classic misquote from the actual press release by the compass.
    "Within the context of this mandate, the Trust recognises the need for the cruise passenger experience in the Cayman Islands to be a positive one for visitors and local hosts alike and for cruise ship tourism to continue to be sustainable. The Trust has noted the Government’s decision, announced on Wednesday 30 September, to move forward with plans to construct a Cruise Berthing Facility in George Town’s Hog Sty Bay pending a final decision in Cabinet." is the second paragraph from the National Trust statement.

    In the trust statement they are asking for the more information that was found EIA to be added to the Busness case to see if the Cruse pier actual make sense before making the final decisiion.

    Saddly this is not what the Compass stated in there story.