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Tourism Minister: FUNDING BOOST COMING FOR SMALL TOURISM BUSINESSES

Government 16 Apr, 2023 Follow News

Tourism Minister: FUNDING BOOST COMING FOR SMALL TOURISM BUSINESSES

Small tourism-related businesses are to benefit from a fund to support them with marketing and promotion under a new initiative by Hon. Minister for Tourism Kenneth Bryan.


 

Speaking on the programme Cayman Conversations with Ralph Lewis, publisher of Caymanian Times newspaper, Mr Bryan said he is putting together a plan to bring the unique offerings of Cayman’s craft industries further into the overall tourism marketing plan and create more opportunities for them.


 

Importantly, funding to the tune of CI$1.5 million has been identified to support small businesses with this initiative Mr Bryan disclosed on Cayman Conversations.


 

“I’m putting forward some monies for a fund so we can help entrepreneurs to build these authentic products…I'm proposing to put 1.5 million dollars within the budget where Caymanians who want to try something like that, as long as they do it within a structured way.”


 

With Cayman on target as the tourism industry continues to rebound, Mr Bryan said this major initiative for the sector is diversification within the jurisdiction by placing more focus on small enterprises.


 

“We are starting to refocus our efforts into getting better value out of what we do now,” he said.

“Some of the ways that we have come up is the diversification of our products, which is getting more mom-and-pop authentic offerings.”


 

It comes as he also focuses on opening up additional opportunities for tourism in the East End, Bidden Town and Sisters Islands in part to alleviate the congestion and overcrowding in George Town.


 

It’s also a response to the expectation of fewer cruise passengers with the idea of a cruise pier now appearing to be firmly off the table.

The tourism minister said a new approach to targeting smaller and more high-end cruises based on feedback from the industry, creates the opportunity to further incorporate the smaller enterprises into Cayman’s tourism mix.


 

Giving an insight into his vision on Cayman Conversations he outlined what he has in mind:

“You are doing a little something at home and somebody(tourists) would come by and you would interact with them: ‘Come into my kitchen and I’ll show you how I make a cassava cake’. Well, you can make $200 off of that. I mean that could be your work for the day and you entertain five people off the cruise ship and a bus driver gets 50 bucks off of it for driving them. We want to help develop more authentic Caymanian experiences.”


 

As explained by Mr Bryan, “We can’t just give away money but if you can prove that you can things together from a business perspective, we will help you from within the Department of Tourism and the Ministry to connect you with the stakeholders, the hotels and the cruise lines.”


 

Further expanding on his plan, the tourism minister said while larger enterprises have traditionally been at the forefront of tourism, and remain its driving force, there is scope for a more intimate approach in response to trends in the global industry.


 

“We got to get that money in their hands to develop these small companies There's room for big business, there's room for big hotels, there's room for transport and there's room for the mass approach. But the industry and customers have to do something more intimate now.”


 

Mr Bryan sees this approach as also linking into what he views at the vital major East-West Arterial road project making it easier to access areas such as Bodden Town and East End and openiong up more tourism opportunities in those areas.


 

“You also help with congestion because you want to spread the customer around. We need to get more customers going east... so we don't have the congestion of everybody in one area which makes it feel like you're not really enjoying the environment."


 

And the Minister of Tourism sees a greater overall benefit.

"If we spread the money, spread the congestion, less pressure on the environment at any single location, and then we get more value for it as people remember those experiences...(it creates repeat visits and business)."


 

In full marketing and promotional flow, Mr Bryan underpinned his optimism:

"We can create more millionaires in the Cayman Islands through tourism than any other industry. We just have to make sure to give them the opportunities, guide them on the know-how, and give them the networking connections with the industry stakeholders."


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