The spotlight was on the Cayman Islands
last month as the destination hosted a sustainable-tourism
conference May 21 to 24 and a National Football League event on May
19 and launched a multiyear project to measure the destination's
Cayman Airways will begin nonstop service three days a week from
New York (Kennedy) to Grand Cayman on June 23 with promotional
fares from $399 roundtrip.
The flights will
depart New York on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays at 9 a.m. Flights
will depart Grand Cayman on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at
In addition to
conferences and increased airlift is news of a steady growth in
arrival figures this year over last. Air arrivals for March stood
at 35,416, up 11.6% over March 2006.
Figures for the
first quarter were up 13.3% over the same period last year,
totaling 86,819 visitors, including a 13.4% jump in U.S. arrivals,
according to Charles Clifford, minister of tourism.
marketing strategies, coupled with our determination to enhance our
product and leverage our partnerships, are paying dividends for the
destination," Clifford said.
He attributed the
renewed cooperation between the public and private sectors as
playing a primary role in the success to date.
arrival statistics are still below those of the post-9/11 years
prior to September 2004 when Hurricane Ivan dealt a blow to the
In the cruise
sector, passenger arrivals were up 5.9% in the first quarter
compared with the same period last year.
In March more
than 253,300 cruise passengers arrived in Grand Cayman, the highest
monthly cruise figure recorded in the destination.
was a hot topic at the annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable
Tourism Development, organized by the Caribbean Tourism
Organization and hosted by the Cayman Islands at the Westin
Casuarina Resort & Spa on Grand Cayman.
technologies and practices that sustain the environment and reduce
global warming makes economic sense, said Peter Hillenbrand,
chairman of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and the Little
Cayman Research Centre, a project of the institute.
addressed conference delegates on the economics of "greening" a
business, contends that businesses need to be convinced of the
economic benefits of reducing global warming and affecting changes,
which require monetary and cultural investments.
"The best way to
have people begin living a more sustainable life is to either scare
the heck out of them or demonstrate to governments, businesses and
families that with improved technology and the decreasing costs of
buying this technology, money will be saved and the environment
helped," Hillenbrand said.
As host venue,
the Cayman Islands used the opportunity to highlight its
sustainable-tourism initiatives already in place. These include the
Go East initiative, which seeks to bolster tourism on Grand
Cayman's East End, and the role of the National Trust in tourism
In keeping with
the sustainable theme, biodegradable cups and straws and refillable
water containers were used during the conference.
An event of an
entirely different sort, targeted at sports fans, was filmed in
Grand Cayman on May 19 and will air on ESPN on Aug. 3.
Islands snagged a three-year contract with the National Football
League to host the NFL Quarterback Challenge, now in its 17th
Michael Vick of
the Atlanta Falcons and Jake Delhomme of the Carolina Panthers were
among the quarterbacks participating in a skills competition that
measures accuracy, speed, mobility and long-distance
receivers, including Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, also
participated in the "No Huddle" timed event in which quarterbacks
complete passes to receivers.
Islands is proud to become the first international destination to
host this sports event," Clifford said.
How are we doing?
The Ministry of
Tourism launched a three-year, $700,000 project designed to measure
the effectiveness of customer service in the
The project is
being carried out by FreemanGroup Destinations, a new division of
the Dallas-based Freeman Group, a hospitality consulting
managing partner of FG Destinations, is heading the project. Malone
is the former director of tourism for the British Virgin
service standards and providing quality customer service are
critical components in assuring a high ratio of repeat business in
the competitive tourism industry, according to Clifford.
"To contribute to
the sustained growth of the Cayman Islands and to maintain a
competitive edge in tourism, the quality of customer service
delivered has to be elevated to a standard of excellence," Clifford
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].