Mail call: Ensuring sustainable growth in Cayman’s tourism sector

Hi, Cayman. I’m Compass editorial writer Jennifer Hemmingsen
here with Weekend Mail Call. Our islands tourism boom continues, with officials
reporting 15 consecutive months of record-breaking growth. They say that 1.3 million tourists arrived
in Cayman during the first six months of this year. That’s a 20 percent increase over this time
last year. Stayover visits are up 16 percent so far this
year. In an editorial last week, the Compass editorial
board applauded the tourism sector’s continuing success. At the same time, it cautioned the territory’s
leaders to make sure the growth is sustainable over the long term. They wrote, “The next stage of our development
must be a renewed focus on infrastructure and service that is more than adequate to
meet the demand and expectations of our first-class visitors. Our hospitality sector continues to outdo
itself in terms of attracting travelers to our shores, both by plane and ship. It is from the moment of arrival that we see
the emergence of challenges.” The board wondered whether the newly remodeled
Owen Roberts International Airport will be large enough to comfortably handle peak travel
times five, 10 or 15 years from now. They noted that the long-awaited cruise port
project seems to be stuck in planning mode. And they remarked upon the large number of
ongoing road construction projects. They wrote, “The good news about Cayman’s
tourism situation – is the tourism situation. Issues such as the airport expansion, road
construction and room inventory are not symptoms of an illness, but ‘growing pains’ accompanying
a surge in the tourism sector that has far exceeded official projections and expectations.” Thanks for watching Weekend Mail Call. Tell us what you think. And don’t forget to pick up your daily paper,
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