Government is monitoring the potential impacts of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union on the Cayman Islands’ tourism industry, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said Monday.

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell
Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell

Almost one in 10 visitors to the islands comes from the U.K. or continental Europe, which along with Canada is considered a secondary source market for the industry.

Economic troubles in Canada have already resulted in a dip in arrivals from that country, and the possibility of a recession in the U.K. would likely lead to a similar decrease in tourism.

Mr. Kirkconnell said it is still too early to say what the repercussions of Brexit will be.

“The impact on the Cayman Islands tourism industry is unpredictable and, considering the anticipated length of time for the United Kingdom to successfully exit the European Union, the impact will not be immediate to the Cayman Islands.

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“The ministry and Department of Tourism are closely monitoring the situation and when there are clear indicators of potential impact to our tourism industry, we will ensure that strategies are appropriately designed to support this evolving situation.”

He said the decision in the U.K. requires a two-year notice period before Britain actually leaves the European Union, and he predicted that the initial impact on the value of the pound and the global stock market would stabilize.

He added, “The people of the United Kingdom have made a decision through a democratic process to exit the European Union.

“As we witness this historical event, the Cayman Islands acknowledges the connection through sovereignty and business relations that underpin the Cayman Islands’ stability and tourism performance.”

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  1. If you check the DoT air arrival stats the numbers of visitors from the UK and Europe have actually been steadily falling in recent years. In 2014 they represented 9.54% of the total, that fell to 8.9% in 2015 and so far this year we’re only at 7.22%.

    It’s also interesting that the drop off in visitors from Canada is being blamed on ‘economic troubles’. That doesn’t seem to have had any impact on the flood of Canadian tourists into Cuba, in fact numbers there are well up already in 2016.

    Whilst it might be convenient to use Brexit as an excuse when these figures continue to fall you can actually sum up the real problem in three simple words ‘too damned expensive’. The bottom line is that, even with BA’s recent fare sale and some heavily discounted hotels deals, two people considering a week’s vacation on Grand Cayman traveling from the UK face a bill of at least GBP2200-2300 (currently roughly CI2500) just for flights and budget accommodation. When you factor in meals and other expenses that will round off in the region of GBP3000.

    This sort of money will buy them two weeks all-inclusive (AI) at a number of top quality resorts, including several in Cuba. If anyone out there hasn’t tried AI it includes flights in modern aircraft like the 787 Deamliner, airport transfers, full board and alcoholic drinks. I’ve sampled AI in Cuba, Egypt and the Maldives – it is not only very good value but the standards required by the tour operators make your average Cayman Islands hotel look rather down-market.

    Brexit may well make things worse but it’s not the cause of the problem. This decline predates the UK vote and probably goes back to the days when politicians fixated on the concept of high-end tourism without apparently even understanding what was involved. The fact is that DoT have dropped the ball here and missed out on a key market.

  2. Mr KirkConnell , I think that the time has come that all minister of government need to put on your thinking hats and figure out how to weather the Cayman Islands through this storm .
    This is not the time to be blaming this and that .