What do the tour bus drivers have to say?
Some people say that the possible damage that the construction of the proposed fixed berthing facility might cause to the sea bed – and the degrading of the natural environment and the associated value of the dive tourism product, will be bad for the Cayman economy. Others think that the new facility is badly needed to help Cayman’s cruise ship facilities keep pace with other Caribbean destinations that already have fixed berthing facilities. But what do the tour bus drivers have to say? After all, they are in a good position to articulate the feeling of the tourists they see every day.
Danny, a tour bus driver, said:
“I hope they hurry up and get this. Definitely we need a port like that (one proposed) because if Cuba opens their port and they’re going to have overnight for two days and if we don’t have something a lot of our business is going to be there. We are going to lose a lot of business from here and it is not and once we lose it there’s no coming back so if people think: ‘we’re going to soon do this and soon do that;’ but it’s here now, and we don’t do something to correct it now, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.
Kate, from Franks Watersports, said:
“I don’t know the details of the proposals but from what I know, the Cayman Islands do absolutely need a berthing facility for the cruise lines, to keep up with the competition, to move ahead forward; its progress. Where we’re at right now we have ships that are not coming to the Cayman Islands because the ships are too large for the tenders to disembark and embark the passengers – it would take all day.
Ships will probably be able to stay longer and people will be able to do more because all that lost time in tendering.
“My personal opinion is the Cayman Islands should have a combination, have some tendering and have a facility for the ships, because there a people who like the different experience of tendering and we are probably one of the last ones that are still tendering passengers. It will be a good thing going forward – we are afraid of change – everyone is afraid of change, including me, but it’s good to go forward.”
Tour bus driver John told the Cayman Weekly:
“I think it’s a good idea; it brings a lot more income to the island and gives people a lot more chance to see the island. Most people won’t come to the island because there is no berthing facility and going back and forth by tendering – they are afraid of that as well. Most of them are frightened, partly because the boats are just tied up but also because they are going full throttle – they’re not used to being tendered back to their ship by boats. From what I’ve heard from the tourists that come here by the ship, this is something strange to them. Without the berthing facility the Cayman Islands is going to get left behind by the big cruise ships – I am pretty certain.
Daniel Taylor of Reliable Transport said:
“Definitely we need it (the proposed new facility) because you have tourists on the ship that are in a wheel chair and to come by tender is kind of hard for them. So to give everybody an opportunity to come off, you need to have the berthing facility.”
Tour bus driver Martin Whyte said:
“It will be a good idea. It’ll turn over our economy, because with more cruise ships coming in it’ll create more volume in terms of tourist count. It would be good news not only for me, but for the country at large.
“One of the things that is happening (at the moment) is that when you look at the amount of people coming in, let’s say, one ship may have three thousand people, and you have only fifty to sixty percent coming off. For families with wheel chairs it can be very difficult for them, so I do believe that once we have a proper dock, merging off from the ship will be much better and faster and will generate proper cash flow from our islands.”