Marketing, airlift, and room stock: the nexus of a successful tourism product.
Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell told Cayman 27 the country has struck the right balance for growth, but he points out that if our infrastructure can’t keep pace with expected growth in room stock, its marketing efforts will be wasted.
“Our room stock as we know, is currently 5502 rooms and is right at maximum capacity,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
Supply and demand: the latest tourism stats show Cayman is benefiting from the region’s highest average daily room rate. But with new room stock coming online when the Kimpton Seafire opens in November, and other large-scale projects in the pipeline, Mr. Kirkconnell expects room stock to grow by 20 percent by 2019.
“If infrastructure does not keep pace with the growth in arrivals, the investment that we as a country make in the marketing on a global basis will be wasted because we don’t have the rooms to sell,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
Mr. Kirkconnell called the anticipated increase in room stock a ‘trigger event.’
In January, the ministry launched its research into lengthening the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport, ahead of the airport business case timeline.
“I’m pleased to say that the runway RFP has now come back, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority is currently reviewing the design bid for the extension of the runway,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
He said that design would give government an idea of how much runway expansion would cost, in the event another trigger event arises.
“If we see another investment model coming that says the only way we’re going to be able to fill up those rooms is a long haul wide body from Europe, then we are ahead of the curve as far as looking at 9,000 feet or 10,000 feet,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.
He told Cayman 27 doing the research now helps save time later when it’s time to pull the trigger on runway expansion.
Mr. Kirkconnell said runway expansion will open the doors to gateway cities on the US west coast, a key focal point of tourism marketing efforts.