Time is almost up for public consultation on the draft National Tourism Plan.
The 50-plus page draft document presents an aspirational vision for this important pillar of our economy.
Cayman’s last National Tourism Management Plan was set in place in 2009 with a vision through 2013.
While Cayman’s popularity as a cruise and stay over destination is without question, the draft document lays bare the fact that at current visitor levels, there has remained an inability to spread the social and economic benefits across the whole of Caymanian society.
The Department of Tourism said this plan aims to address that issue.
“Because of how dynamic this industry is, we will be looking at things every year, how things are changing and how we respond to those changes, and also looking forward,” said DOT Deputy Director for Tourism Product Development Gail Henry.
She told Cayman 27 the draft puts a focus on visitor management and sustainability.
“There are issues when it comes to the carrying capacity of certain sites, and the document includes an interesting chart that shows you visitation of various popular areas with in the Cayman Islands, and it shows you how stressed some of those areas are,” said Ms. Henry.
The draft plan includes a five-page visitor management strategy that looks at visitor satisfaction at popular destinations.
The draft includes data, gleaned from recent TripAdvisor reviews, that 17% of visitors mentioned overcrowding in their reviews of George Town harbour and the cruise port. Overcrowding was also cited in 10% of reviews for Seven Mile Beach, Stingray City, and the Cayman Turtle Centre.
“This is something we will be paying attention to: h we can address those issues so that we don’t destroy the very assets that are visitors are coming to see, how can we better manage our destination, and be able to come up with some sort of solutions,” said Ms. Henry.
After the public consultation period, and the necessary government approvals are secured, she anticipates the implementation phase will commence in early 2019.
“We will take the rest of this year to work with entities who will be assisting us with the implementation of the plan, and be able to prioritize in terms of our action plan so going forward everyone knows what they’re responsible for and we can seek the necessary financing for implementing based on priorities,” said Ms. Henry.
The public consultation period for the draft National Tourism Plan ends this Wednesday, September 26th.