Grand Cayman -- What a difference a year makes.
At last years
annual Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange, the buzzwords were
recovery, repair and rebuild from the devastation left behind by
Hurricane Ivan, a Category 5 storm that hit the islands in
But at the recent
CITE held on Grand Cayman, the buzz was all about resurgence,
redevelopment and renewal.
The public and
private sectors worked closely together in the past year with much
progress to report, but a strong and sustained second year is
needed, said Charles Clifford, minister of tourism, who outlined a
score of initiatives to achieve a return to the pre-Ivan visitor
levels of 2004.
Summer Splash, a vacation program with discounts and features aimed
at the family market; an expanded agent fam program; a new Go East
initiative to develop the tourism product on the east side of Grand
Cayman as well as on the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little
Cayman; a push to raise the quality of customer service; and a
major airport redevelopment project beginning with a new passenger
Room stock on
Grand Cayman is nearing full strength, according to Pilar Bush,
director of tourism.
pre-Ivan room inventory on all three islands was 5,181. As of
mid-April, there were 3,794 rooms.
Not planning to
reopen on Grand Cayman are Indies Suites, Seaview Hotel, Treasure
Island Resort, North Point Condos, Victoria House, Beachcomber
Condominiums, Cayman Club, Turtle Beach, Tarquynn Manor and 35
The Hyatt Regency
has not yet reopened, pending issues of ownership and insurance
payments, but Bush said that an announcement was expected soon that
could lead to a decision regarding a reopening date.
In addition, new
construction on Grand Cayman includes 277 hotel rooms, 648 units in
condominiums and apartments and 61 rooms in guesthouses.
Airlift, too, is
at or near the pre-Ivan levels. In December, the islands welcomed
71 weekly flights with 9,105 seats, not including Spirits seven
weekly flights from Fort Lauderdale and Americans one additional
flight five days a week.
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].