After a record-breaking number of visitors to the Cayman Islands in 2019, the islands seemed poised for a bright future. But after the COVID-19 outbreak, those working in cruising and tourism are now looking to adapt to the new normal and take advantage of every opportunity to bring the local economy back in the right direction.
Deputy Premier of the Cayman Islands, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell joined Porthole Cruise Magazine Founder and Editor in Chief Bill Panoff to talk about the state of tourism and what the islands are doing going forward to promote safe and healthy visits from travelers.
The outlook for us is a blank canvas, so to speak, that we can take the opportunity to do some very exciting things [for tourism recovery]
Check out the full interview below!
Interview with the Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell
When discussing the steps the islands are taking to minimize health and safety risks, Kirkconnell explained that it would largely be based on what cruise lines are doing. One example he provided was that passengers must tender to the island, a practice made much more time consuming when you factor in social distancing measures.
“Our next step, really, is when they set the protocols and they send them to us, we’ll be able to understand how to take advantage of that opportunity,” he said. “We do not have a cruise berthing facility, so if they say they have issues with how we tender, maybe we won’t be able to take a number of people and get them ashore with the tenders that we have and the new protocols that will be in place. So, we would have to look at that.”
“Obviously if our attractions, our boat trips, our tour operators, our taxis are only able to take half of what they used to take before, the cost of that is going to change completely for shore attractions, so we as a government with oversight have a responsibility to understand ‘how do we manage that?’, ‘how do we help that go forward?’, how do we make sure that people who want to be involved in cruise are understanding the opportunity,” he continued.
Kirkconnell ended the interview with his best advice for those visiting the Caymand Islands.
“If you come to Cayman, I want you to go to Seven Mile Beach because it’s the best beach in the world. I want you to go out from your hotel and eat in our local restaurants because we’re the culinary capital of the region. But most importantly, I want you to meet the Caymanian people, because if you meet the Caymanian people, I know you’re going to be a return guest.”