Cayman Islands attracts families through childrens' promotion

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GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Kids get the red carpet treatment here for a few more weeks.

Until Sept. 5, children under 12 years of age fly free on Cayman Airways, and stay, eat and play for free at most hotels and condominiums.

For the second year in a row, the Department of Tourism linked two of its programs targeted primarily at families.

Phil San Filippo, sales and marketing director, said the goal is to persuade parents that the Cayman Islands is an affordable and family-oriented destination.

"Once they experience this aspect of the Cayman Islands, we are confident they will return even when their kids are teenagers," he said.

Chillin 'n Cayman, the off-season promotion introduced four years ago, is valid through Dec. 15 and features a three-tier pricing structure for hotels and condominiums.

The Westin Casuarina on Grand Cayman is a participating property in the Chillin 'n Cayman off-season promotion. A key benefit of the program is a value-added card which entitles visitors to 10% discounts at participating restaurants; 20% on car rentals, fishing and water sports, and 25% on attractions and golf.

Special air fares are also offered by 18 participating U.S. wholesalers this year.

According to San Filippo, "the promotion has caught on. Agents actually have clients requesting the Chillin package by name now."

A component of the Kids Free program includes a Cayman Kid's Cup that entitles each child under age 12 to a free drink at participating restaurants and facilities.

"The 'bottomless' cup is the official signal to properties that the young guest is a VIP," San Filippo said.

Cayman Airways offers discounted fares from Miami, Orlando and Tampa, Fla., gateways during the promotion.

For each full-fare adult passenger, one child under 12 flies for free. Bookings must be made by Sept. 5 to take advantage of the fly-free component.

A wide range of properties is participating in the Kids Free campaign, from condomiums with fully-equipped kitchens along Seven Mile Beach to small hotels and inns.

Certain larger hotels, such as the Marriott, Hyatt Regency and the Westin Casuarina, offer evening babysitting services for a nominal fee.

Both Hyatt's Camp Hyatt and Westin's Camp Scallywag offer kids' programs and field trips.

As for playing for free, kids have a variety of beaches on which to build sand castles, collect shells and snorkel in shallow waters.

Attractions such as Stingray City offer free snorkeling gear to children accompanied by a parent.

Children under age 12, accompanied by parents, are admitted free of charge to the Cayman Turtle Farm.

Tanks of green sea turtles -- 15,000 in all -- enable visitors to see the different stages of turtle development from newborns to breeders.

A special tank contains turtles waiting for their 15 minutes of fame. Visitors can pose with them for photographs.

Kids Free and Chillin 'n Cayman
Phone: Cayman Airways Holidays at
(800) 4-CAYMAN
Web: www.caymanislands.ky

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