Government/tourism sector meetings continue

A group, which includes representatives of the public and private tourism sectors, is meeting twice a month to discuss the strategy for reopening Cayman's borders to visitors. - Photo: Submitted

Members of the private-sector tourism industry are continuing to meet with government officials to address how Cayman’s borders can safely reopen.

A series of six ‘action-planning sessions’ are under way, with the first one held on 10 Feb.

The Department of Tourism issued a press release Friday about the meetings, which are being attended by a 24-member group, and are taking place twice a month.

“At the completion of the joint meetings, the group will have established the direction and strategic approach to safely and competently reopen the tourism industry of the Cayman Islands which will be presented to Cabinet,” the release stated.

Last month, Cayman Islands Tourism Association president Marc Langevin spoke at a CITA forum about his optimism that the government was beginning to engage the private tourism sector.

In Friday’s release, Langevin, who is also general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, said, “As we are getting closer to meeting the conditional vaccination level threshold set by the government to reopen our destination to visitors, we are appreciative to be invited by the Ministry of Tourism to work collaboratively in defining the many complex tasks associated to the reopening to tourism.

“I am impressed by the level of engagement, commitment and expertise provided by the various governmental agencies, and various organizations’ representatives in attendance and look forward to start a new era of collaboration between private sectors and government beyond the short-term reopening process, to rebuild and improve our tourism successes.”

Premier Alden McLaughlin has indicated that once 70% of Cayman’s population has been vaccinated, the mandatory quarantine period for people arriving on island can be abolished.

Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell stated in the release, “Our dynamic tourism industry has been a pillar of the economy for the Cayman Islands since the 1960s – a source of pride for the country but also a significant area of Caymanian employment opportunities and a springboard for entrepreneurship for many Caymanian families. Prior to the pandemic, we were on a steady streak of ever-increasing success with year-over-year record breaking arrival statistics for both cruise and stayover tourism, which came to a halt in March 2020 as our government implemented the measures necessary to keep our country safe.

“It is our ultimate goal to continue government’s approach of putting the safety of our people first when the country reopens so this collaboration with our public and private tourism stakeholders will play a major role in accomplishing our future success story.”

The 24-person group is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Department of Tourism, Health Services Authority, Customs and Border Control, Cayman Airways, Civil Aviation Authority, Cayman Islands Airports Authority, Cayman Turtle Centre and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.

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