The Ministry of Tourism’s island-wide tour came to an end last night (13 March) in West Bay, it’s an initiative seeking feedback from residents and business owners across Cayman to create a national tourism plan. At last night’s meeting attendees pushed for more Caymanian input in the industry.
“So I realize that the face of the tourism department is exactly what Shane said, it should be Caymanians, it should be us, but that is not the case now, that is not the way it is,” said Derren Burlington, tour operator.
Mr. Burlington said he wants to see quality over quantity in Cayman’s tourism industry. He was one of several voices pushing for more Caymanians in tourism.
“Just because everybody can get together and put 10-15 people on a boat and go to stingray city, but what experience are they getting? Are they getting the talks about the history of the island, what started stingray city?” said Mr. Burlington.
It’s an issue Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell is all too familiar with and it is one he said he’s working to address.
“If we the Caymanian people don’t get something out of our tourism industry, then we failed, we failed from a ministry standpoint, we failed from a government standpoint and we failed as a community,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
On Tuesday night tourism leaders wrapped up their talk tourism community meetings in West Bay, audience member Mario Ebanks suggested tests be implemented to break down cultural barriers in the industry.
“And I believe we need to have a national cultural sensitivity training for all expatriates who work [here] for the first time, so that we can understand them and they can also understand us,” said Mario Ebanks.
The minister welcomed all the feedback and assured the views gathered will be put to use.
“That’s the type of information and the feeling that we want to leave here with tonight, if it’s all bad, if it’s all good, if it’s somewhere down the middle, that’s the purpose of the meeting, so thank you very much for being sincere about it,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
Tourism leaders said the national tourism plan will be available to the public in due course, no specific time frame was given for its release.