The recovery of the Cayman Islands tourism industry and return as a top pillar of the economy is the highest priority for the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) which has laid a blueprint for success through the next phases of the COVID-19 crisis and the years to come. A multifaceted three-year strategic plan is in development to guide the country’s tourism sector through the phases of recovery in the medium to long term.
“Following the extraordinary air arrivals milestone of the country welcoming 502,739 stayover visitors in 2019, my ministry and I have been working diligently to create a strategic plan that will move the tourism industry forward into economic recovery,” shared Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell. “As a strong pillar of our economy that contributes highly to our GDP, it is imperative to implement a strategic plan that will restore our tourism industry in the medium and long term and propel our Caymanian tourism employees back into the workplace safely.”
Since the closure of borders in March, the Ministry and Department of Tourism have been focused on collaboration with key stakeholders in government and the tourism community addressing the challenges currently facing the industry, as well as finding solutions for what lays ahead. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has conducted extensive stakeholder outreach and implemented programmes specific to industry needs in the early stages of this crisis. This includes:
• Sector surveys for domestic economy stakeholder feedback
• Institute online PRIDE training
• Meetings with the accommodation, dive, and attractions
• Meetings with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and Chamber of Commerce
• Collaborations with the Public Transportation Board and Hotel Licensing Board on recommendations to support the tourism industry
• Needs registry development for Caymanian tourism employees
• Tourism Updates emailed to DOT database regularly
• Developing sanitation guidelines for the tourism sector to safely welcome visitors back
The outcomes of stakeholder collaboration combined with extensive market research are the pillars of the Cayman Islands COVID-19 Tourism Strategy. The development of this three-year strategic tourism recovery plan will focus on:
• Reinvention for Readiness: identify current stakeholder challenges and develop the best methodologies to reactivate the tourism sector in an effective and efficient return to be a top pillar of the economy.
• Domestic Economy: identify strategies to positively impact the country through domestic tourism as the Cayman Islands transitions through the phases of the COVID-19 crisis to recovery.
• Global Economy: extensive global marketing and promotions of the best practices and methodologies put in place to ensure the Cayman Islands’ tourism products and services are operating with the highest safety and sanitation standards for accommodations, events, dive, tours and attractions, transportation, and culinary experiences.
• Future Tourism Sector Employment: this adaptation strategy will develop new definitions of roles within the industry, including the necessary retraining of tourism professionals to adapt to a new way of operating in the tourism market.
The Hon. Minister of Tourism reiterated: “This plan is crucial to the recovery of our tourism industry. I am pleased to have my team working with well-known local economist Mr. Paul Byles, founder and director of FTS. We look forward to continued stakeholder engagement to receive their valuable insights and expertise to this holistic recovery plan. Together we will engage with the sector to ensure that new policies and safety measures are in place to ensure that our guests know we are ready to welcome them back. This is a plan for success for all Caymanians and those who support our dynamic tourism industry.”
Further updates on the tourism recovery strategy will be provided as we transition to the recovery phase of the COVID-19 global pandemic.