Tourism leaders headed into North Side last night (12 March) as they continued their island-wide tour, sharing their tourism plan.
But residents had areas of concern of their own, like infrastructure. Cayman 27’s Philipp Richter was at the meeting and he has this report.
The topic was tourism, but business owners and tour operators in the eastern districts say there is a need for better infrastructure to get tourists heading east.
“It was no surprise that infrastructure is needed for incremental growth in this area and we’re very happy to have the questions and have the input because that’s specifically the reason why we’re coming to the district,” said Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister of Tourism.
Lighthouse Restaurant owner Giuseppe Gatta said the afternoon traffic delays cause headaches with tourists trying to dine at his establishment.
“When they make reservations, we always ask where they are staying and if they tell us they are staying at any of the properties on the Seven Mile Beach, its okay, if you want a reservation at 6, leave at 4:30,” said Mr. Gatta.
He said one road going east isn’t enough and hopes that the gazette extension of the East-West arterial comes on line soon.
“We need to have a faster road that comes up to the eastern districts, I know there are talks about that they want to do a new arterial on the eastern districts, but I don’t know, I’ve been hearing this for many years,” said Mr. Gatta.
We reached out to Infrastructure Minister Joey Hew on Mr. Gatta’s concerns.
“We are actively considering our options to achieve the expansion,” said Minister Hew in a statement.
The East-West arterial expansion is not listed in the Ministry of Infrastructure’s budget for 2017 – 2019.
Another issue Mr. Gatta highlighted at Monday’s meeting, the importance of having scheduled buses, especially at night for late night customers, like tourists who don’t rent a car.
“That there is a timeline when they run, when they finish to run and they are always running on time and that’s how we are going to bring the people from the seven mile beach area to the eastern districts, that’s the only solution if you want to see them because not everybody rents a car,” said Mr. Gatta.
Mr. Gatta said he believes the feedback the Ministry of Tourism received at the meeting will be taken on board.