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Capitalising on storms fallout: MLA questions Gov’t tourism plans

The tourism product for Eastern Caribbean islands reeling from catastrophic hurricanes continues to rebuild and one lawmaker asks if Cayman is in a position to take advantage.
George Town Central lawmaker Kenneth Bryan says Cayman could see a bump in numbers as tourists, who planned to visit those islands, must now turn elsewhere.
With islands in the Eastern Caribbean still picking up the pieces after devastating storms George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan sees opportunity for Cayman.
“The unfortunate, the disaster with the hurricane recently in this hurricane season has obviously made it difficult for other Caribbean islands, our competing markets,” he said as he addressed the Finance Committee today (8 November.)
The statement came as members discussed marketing funding for the Department of Tourism.
“One of the advantages, if any, to a disaster like that is allowing us to have an advantage over those who have been damaged,” he said.
He said visitors who eyed those islands now will look elsewhere, like towards Cayman.
“It could possibly be at least another year until they get back up to where they were before, so using basic common sense the expectation is that we may get a small market share more than is expected,” he contended.
Deputy Premier Hon Moses Kirkconnell said he doesn’t see a potential bump in visitors as a result of the hurricanes as a long-term strategy.
“But it wouldn’t have mattered if we had known that the Eastern Caribbean was gonna be hit because the economy of the Eastern Caribbean is based around tourism and that is gonna be the first thing that recovers. The catastrophe in the Eastern Caribbean is not to be looked at as something that we will be able, as a destination, to take advantage of for a long period of time,” Mr. Kirkconnell said.
Opposition MLA Alva Suckoo disagreed with an approach to use these tragedies as a tool to benefit Cayman’s tourism product.
“What we need to do is make sure we modernise and move our product forward, but look out for the best interest of the region as well. We market the Caribbean mostly to other jurisdictions,” Mr Suckoo pointed out.
The committee later went on to approve the roughly $3.2 million allocated for tourism marketing.
Finance Committee continued late into the night Wednesday.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 16 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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