The recent announcement that the Treasure Island Resort will be converted into the Margaritaville Beach Resort on Seven Mile Beach over the course of the next year is exciting news for both Cayman’s tourism industry and its real estate industry – two sectors of Cayman’s economy which I believe have always been inextricably linked.
Cayman has needed to broaden its market appeal for some time now. Having a Margaritaville hotel in Cayman allows us to far better cater to a new sector of the tourism market, which has, up until this point, had limited accommodation choices, with just a small handful of budget-conscious hotels such as Sunshine Suites providing well-priced accommodation for visitors.
I believe, as a vacation destination, Cayman has often overlooked the fact that it costs a great deal for most people to fly to here, and room costs have often been out of reach for most people. Now, with an affordable option broadening our accommodation offering, people who had perhaps always wanted to visit Cayman, but were prohibited from doing so because of the high cost, will now make our islands their vacation choice.
Alongside the hotel development, Margaritaville is offering 110 condominium suites for sale, providing a real estate investment opportunity for those who have previously found properties on the Seven Mile Beach strip to be outside their price point.
Another notable brand that is speeding ahead with development, ready for opening next year, is the Kimpton resort, now named as Seafire Resort and Spa, Seven Mile Beach. Having recently been acquired by InterContinental Hotels (IHG) Group, the Kimpton brand is now on the radar of the IHG Group’s more than 90 million loyalty members who are part of the IHG Rewards Club (the largest of any hotel brand), which means incredible exposure for the new Seafire Resort. IHG is parent to the likes of the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotel chains and is headquartered in the U.K. Analysts expect the new ownership to expand the Kimpton brand further than its current U.S.-based market, bringing the unique, boutique Kimpton brand to a far wider audience.
I think the spin-off for Cayman’s economy, once these two new brands are introduced, will be immense. Once these brands become established over the coming years, I anticipate that the real estate industry will see exceptional strengthening by foreign investors who will recognize the broadening of our offering backed by our unique selling points, which I have spoken about so many times before, such as our relatively low crime rate, robust infrastructure, British Overseas Territory status and, of course, our warm and friendly environment.
It is very important that the Cayman Islands real estate industry possesses a good spread of inventory to appeal to a wide and varied customer-base, whether this is through branded hotels, residential and condo living or investment suites ownership. In this way, we can cater to new and more diverse clientele, which means more money invested in this jurisdiction which will funnel down to the benefit of everyone who lives here.