50 years ago: MLAs discuss tourism

In the Sept. 27, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following report appeared:

“The Legislative Assembly took time to discuss the question of tourism briefly when considering … the Hotels Aid Law.

“The President asked whether the House thought we were offering enough incentives. He referred to the meeting held recently with Mr. Chenea who had largely been responsible for the promotion of tourism in the Bahamas and who had given some very useful advice, amongst which he had said that we need a 200-300 bedroom hotel (i.e., for 400-600 persons) here straight away. This would entice the existing airlines to give us a better service and/or encourage a third airline to come into the islands. It would also provide facilities for conventions which would ensure it being utilised in the summer period as well. To this should be tied a golf course.

“His Honour felt that our tourist industry needs a boost and we should go flat out to build hotels especially as one airline has specifically stated that it has no interest in coming here until we can offer 1,000 bedrooms and we are not yet up to 700.

“He invited Mr. B.O. Ebanks Jr. to give a brief report on his attendance at the meeting of the Caribbean Travel Association in Puerto Rico recently.

“Mr. Ebanks told the House that at the meeting there were representatives from Pan America Airlines, international hotels and one from the Saturday Evening Review. These were all men of high calibre, all three of them having been, at some time, advisers to the Secretary of Commerce in the U.S.

“One thing that had struck him forcibly in talking to these men was the question of cottages in view of the feeling here that cottages are less desirable than a big hotel.

“It was driven home to him that the two go hand-in-hand, because the people who occupy the cottages utilise the services – bars, restaurants, etc., that the hotels provide and this is a big part of their business. This is an important point, especially if, by the building of cottages, we can induce longer staying visitors which may even extend into the summer months and thus be a means of supporting the larger hotels.

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