Premier Alden McLaughlin made it clear that his administration will not allow cruise ship companies to operate any businesses outside of their current function in Cayman.
It came as a member of the public queried whether the cruise companies will be allowed to operate private beaches for passengers as they do at some Caribbean destinations.
McLaughlin, speaking in Bodden Town on Tuesday night at pro-port project meeting, rubbished the idea as he sought to put to rest any concerns that cruise companies, including Royal Caribbean and Carnival, would be allowed to own or run businesses in Cayman.
“Even if somebody in the private sector… who has beach land would sell it to Royal or Caribbean or anybody else they would still need a licence – in this case a Local Companies Control Law licence from the Cayman Islands government – to be able to operate in Cayman, so that would become a policy decision for whoever the government is whether or not that is something that they wanted. From our perspective we absolutely, this government absolutely would not even contemplate such a thing,” McLaughlin said.
He told attendees at the Bodden Town Civic Centre while government gets on very well with the cruise ship companies, it does not want them operating in Cayman’s market.
“We want them to bring people here to buy our Caymanian experiences and products and so forth. That’s the policy of the government that I lead,” McLaughlin said.
TJ O’Sullivan, Director Compliance Global Tour Operations at Royal Caribbean, also addressed the concern.
“I do not know of any ability for Carnival to purchase a beach or develop something that large in the region. I know from a Royal Caribbean perspective we do not have any lands in Cayman, we do not have the ability to develop a beach,” he said at the meeting.
O’Sullivan said the cruise company once operated Red Stripe beach near the Falmouth, Jamaica port but that was only because there was no competitive beach within a 45-minute radius.
“As the tour product developed and local operators opened more beaches, we closed Red Stripe beach as we are not in the tour operators’ business. As piece of our business model we do have private destinations, but for Grand Cayman there will be nothing like a private destination for Royal Caribbean.”
Royal Caribbean has two private destinations in the region and Carnival has six private destinations. The next port meeting will be held next Tuesday at the East End Civic Centre, 7pm.