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Tourism booming as ministry looks ahead

| 21/03/2015 | 0 Comments
CNS Business

Cruise ship in George Town Harbour, Grand Cayman

(CNS Business): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said 2015 has potential to be the best year yet for tourism in the Cayman Islands.  Cruise passenger arrivals for the month of January already show a 7% growth over the number of passengers Grand Cayman greeted last year.

“Our arrivals in both stayover and cruise were strong. For stayover, for example, our numbers showed 11% growth year over year while the average in the region was 5%,” Kirkconnell explained. “We are pushing for a 4% to 5% growth in stayovers this year.”

The 2014 statistics show a little more than 1.6 million people came to Grand Cayman by a cruise ship but the Department of Tourism is forecasting over 1.7 million passengers visiting this year.

Six cruise ships had to keep sailing past the Cayman Islands in the month of February due to weather but the minister is confident the tourism industry can make up that loss throughout the year.

“If those six ships had stopped, 21 thousand passengers we would have had in February we lost,” he stated. “Improving the Spotts Dock and having the berthing piers would have salvaged some of those — not all of them, but they would have been a help.”

CNS Business

Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, Minister of District Administration, Tourism and Transport

When it comes to tourists making their way to the Cayman Islands, whether it’s by boat or by plane, it’s not by mistake, Kirkconnell said. “We try to do events to bring people on the island during off months of the year, like the Cayman Cook-off and different events that we can advertise internationally,”

The minister told CNS Business it’s all about marketing and the first step is finding out the markets to focus on.

“We know for us being an expensive destination we need people that make around $300,000 a year. We then design a marketing plan and a PR plan around the clientele we want to attract,” Kirkconnell explained.  “We look at the zip codes and we will buy a media plan where we can send them out information at a certain time of the year when we know that is when they plan their vacation.”

Kirkconnell said the government has put together a great team to tackle any issues that might hinder tourism numbers from increasing.

“My goal for tourism, and particularly for the people I represent in Cayman Brac, is to create a sustainable model that will circulate the benefits of the tourism industry more widely and evenly to give our people a better lifestyle. That’s what we are working really hard on to balance what the government provides in terms of infrastructure with what the private sector provides.”

Kirkconnell said he is pleased with the progress his ministry is making thus far. He explained when he was elected, he set goals for his departments to work towards, such as the revitalization of George Town, expanding the Owen Roberts Airport and building the piers to allow cruise ships easier access to the island.

So far, two of those major projects have been announced and soon the Cayman Islands will start to see results. Kirkconnell said his ministry  is currently working hard to come up with a plan for the cruise ship piers everyone can get behind.

“We are doing it in a different way than anyone has ever done it before. We continue to gather information to make the best decisions we can as to what is best for our country,” he said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s good work.”

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Category: Cruise Tourism, Tourism, Uncategorized

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