Ken Hydes was re-elected president of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association for a third consecutive year on Wednesday.
Mr. Hydes, who had previously indicated he would be willing to stand aside if another candidate emerged, said he was happy to receive the backing of the industry to continue in the role.
“There are a lot of key issues in play right now, and I think the rest of the board felt it would be good if I could stay on for one more year so we could continue to move forward in the same vein.”
He expects the debate over the pending labor and pensions legislation, the revitalization of George Town and the challenge of turning Cayman’s tourism successes into jobs and opportunity for locals to be key themes in the coming year.
“Tourism is growing, there is a lot of inward investment, and we have to do a myriad of things to make sure this optimism in the sector has [a] trickle-down effect for the residents of the Cayman Islands,” he said.
He said the cruise port and airport developments remain a key concern for CITA, while the development of a new National Tourism Plan over the coming months is considered important to the future of the industry.
One issue of concern for CITA members is the Labour and Pensions Law; the association wants to ensure it has a seat at the table as the legislation is developed.
“While, as an industry, we fully believe in the protection of our staff, who are the drivers of the industry, we want to make sure we get our views across as to some of the things proposed that may be a little counterproductive,” he said.
Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell gave the keynote speech at the association’s annual general meeting. He highlighted a pending development boom in the hotel industry and the modernization of Cayman Airways’ fleet as signs that tourism is set to go from “strength to strength.”
Mr. Kirkconnell told the Cayman Compass he welcomes the re-election of Mr. Hydes as president and looks forward to continuing a good working relationship with CITA.
Matt Bishop of Island Companies and David Carmichael, general manager of Caribbean Marine Services, were the two new board members elected at CITA’s AGM at the Marriott resort on Wednesday. They replace outgoing members Tim Adam, director of the Cayman Turtle Farm, and Nigel Mitten of Majestic Tours.
Mr. Hydes said he plans to sit down with the new board and clarify a list of priorities at its meeting in May.
“We are going to be getting some of the other board members more involved in the day-to-day operations,” he added.
He said the organization is keen to give the different sectors more freedom to express contrasting viewpoints on key national issues where there is not a consensus.
“Sometimes, items can galvanize us as an organization, like the Labour and Pensions Law, where everybody is on the same page. Some issues like the George Town cruise port divide us and we want to allow scope for those varying views to be heard.
“We don’t just want to have a survey and say CITA is for or against this – there is scope for different elements of the organization to have different opinions.”
The CITA Executive Committee selected at the AGM by the new board of directors are:
President, Kenneth Hydes, Dart Realty (Cayman) Ltd.; Vice President, Theresa Broderick, Plantana Condominiums; Secretary, Joanna Boxall, Acorn Publishing; Treasurer, Bryan Krug, Majestic Tours; Immediate Past President, Harry Lalli, The Dog House.