I’d like to give my opinion regarding the current and future importance of a healthy tourism sector. I’ve been fortunate to call the Caribbean home for 30 years. I’ve lived, worked and played in both the Eastern and Western Caribbean. 

Nearly 10 years in the Cayman Islands has allowed me a unique perspective regarding the importance of tourism as it relates to other Caribbean islands. Make no mistake, the Caribbean is a competitive marketplace and there are hundreds of islands to work, play or call home. 

The Cayman Islands has some distinct advantages regarding tax structure, offshore financing and real estate development, but I’ve witnessed firsthand the importance of tourism to a large majority of Caymanians. From supermarkets, dive operators, hotels, rental properties, countless retailers, restaurants, airport revenue and hundreds of service providers, the tourism sector touches the lives and pocketbooks of nearly every Caymanian. 

There are, in fact, several pillars of the Cayman Islands economy, but the tourism sector is the key financial driver for the average Caymanian in my estimation. I have no doubt as to the importance of the financial and real estate sectors as they relate to filling government coffers, but I don’t think it reaches the average Caymanian the way the tourism sector does, especially from an employment standpoint. I think the Cayman Islands should open the borders to all tourists when you are ready and feel it’s safe to do so. 

I sincerely hope the people of the Cayman Islands understand the importance of a healthy tourism sector as it relates to most Caymanians. In my estimation, this is one pillar of the economy that truly touches the lives of all Caymanians and to underestimate its importance would be to do so at your own peril.

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Bob Nickoles
Maryland, US

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