Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Tour operators grizzle over weekend sandbar rules

| 11/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): Small tour operators say that they are not benefitting from the increase in cruise ships visiting Cayman at weekends because the major operators are getting the bulk of the business as a result of limits on commercial trips to Stingray City and the Sandbar.

In an effort to both ease the pressure in the wildlife interaction zones and give locals a chance to visit, the law prevents commercial boats from anchoring there after 2pm on weekends. But the smaller watersports operators say the practice of facilitating passengers who have purchased trips with operators partnering with the cruise lines first, they are being pushed out from the reduced window of opportunity.

Some operators told CNS that they have contacted the authorities about relaxing the ban when cruise ships come at weekends. However, the ban is in the law and cannot be addressed without a change in legislation by the Legislative Assembly.

The Department of Environment confirmed that it will continue to enforce the law, noting that as well as being set out in legislation, it is one of the conditions issued to all commercial operators, large and small, and any change would require Cabinet approval.

The increase in cruise calls is pushing up cruise numbers for this year but some local operators told CNS that they are seeing no benefit to their business. With the major operators collecting their passengers first and heading out to the Sandbar, they claim this leaves independent operators at a severe disadvantage as they simply cannot collect their guests and get them to the location in time without falling foul of the law.

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Category: Cruise Tourism, Tourism, Watersports

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