Bryan hints at Cayman being a travel hub for Caribbean | Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

In a recent interview on The Resh Hour, Minister Kenneth Bryan hinted that plans may be underway to enhance inter-Caribbean travel and to make the Cayman Islands a travel hub for the rest of the Caribbean.

The comment came as Bryan discussed the upcoming Caribbean Tourism Organisation Special Meeting in the Cayman Islands, in connection with which Bryan offered his views on what makes Caribbean destinations unique. To get a good grade, according to Bryan, a number of areas must be analysed: good infrastructure, the safety of the country, the standard of service, the cost, the culture and the people.

Comparing Cayman to Jamaica, Bryan said that Jamaica had a “good” rating for culture but would get an “F” for crime and infrastructure. Distinguishing Cayman from Jamaica, Bryan described Cayman as “the gem of the Caribbean” because Cayman is able to “get a B-plus or more on all areas.”

We have always been the leaders in many many fronts from leading in the financial services, from leading as being the best examples of being there for our brothers and sisters when it came to the pandemic, sharing with each other, and we want to continue to be the lead in tourism and that’s the intention here.

Bryan added.

For Cayman to be able to take the lead the region, however, Cayman must present a unique product, which must include the Caymanian people. This is what Jamaica, Cuba, The Bahamas and other countries in the region have done well- they have incorporated their local people on the frontlines where they greet and serve tourists. In contrast, tourists will, only a very rare occasion, be served or greeted by Caymanians at many of Cayman’s hotels and restaurants.

In addition, Cayman’s population is growing rapidly, with over 100 nationalities represented in the Cayman Islands. Foreign workers also make up about half of the Cayman population. This has so much of an impact that references are notably being changed in some places from “Caymanian” to “Cayman-based,” to reflect the reality of the “melting pot,” some of whom do not have citizenship but consider the Cayman Islands to be their home.

Regarding this “melting pot,” Cayman also has to make a big decision at some stage about how it wants others to view the islands. For example, do the Cayman people want Cayman to be known primarily as a “melting pot” of cultures which welcomes all as citizens to its shores, the likely outcome of which may be that Caymanians will be asked to adapt to the changing melting pot of cultures as the population grows (therefore risking the loss of Cayman’s own heritage) or do the Cayman people want to reinforce their own culture and heritage and encourage others to assimilate into Caymanian society?

While the impact of these questions may not seem obvious at first, the answers to them and how Cayman incorporates the same into Cayman’s tourism strategy may impact the ultimate position that Cayman takes as a unique destination and its likelihood of success as an inter-Caribbean hub.