Tourism bodies support port

| 27/01/2009

(CNS): Although it was expected that the Association for the Advancement of Cruise Tourism (ACT) would publicly support the proposed port project, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA) has also announced that it is behind the development, even though a number of people dependent on stay-over tourism for their livelihood raised significant concerns about it in a public meeting recently.

Both CITA and ACT have said that, following their own meetings, they are now publicly supporting the overall concept of a berthing facility for George Town. CITA stated that members of both tourism bodies met on Monday night to discuss the current state of the cruise industry in Grand Cayman and reached an overwhelming consensus on three points.

Firstly, that Grand Cayman must have a berthing facility for cruise ships. Secondly, that the berthing facility must be in the George Town Harbour area. Thirdly, completing the current Environmental Impact Assessment must be a top priority for government and nothing must delay or derail the process.

"CITA recognises and supports the proposal that the best and only practical location for cruise berthing facilities are in the George Town Harbour area,” said CITA President Steve Broadbelt. “Our support is exclusively contingent on the outcome of the Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA mustbe commenced without further delay in order to allow sufficient time for a comprehensive study. The completion of this study should not be delayed by the elections or by negotiations with any potential developers.”

While ACT support was expected, CITA also represents people and companies working in the stay-over tourism business. A number of people working with stay-over guests raised several concerns at the first public meeting about the terms of reference for the EIA that stay-over business would be negatively impacted by the port development.

ACT’s members have the most to gain from the project and its spokesperson, Emma Graham-Taylor, said that without question the local cruise industry faces serious challenges without berthing. “ACT fully supports cruise ship berthing, the location of George Town harbour for this berthing and the current Environmental Impact Assessment now taking place,” she added.

ACT members are said to be concerned about the continuing decrease in cruise ship arrivals and the severe impact it is having on their businesses. “Let’s get all the facts and then all decide,” said local businessman and ACT member Ronnie Anglin at Monday’s meeting.

“Fact one: We are currently discharging cargo and approximately 1.5 million cruise passengers from a port built for half our population and very little thought of cruise tourism. Fact two: Tourism is one of two pillars of our economy, and the cruise sector has been ignored for far too long. We are now playing catch-up with our competitors and we are way too far behind already. Fact three: We have been discussing this for eight years now. We cannot waste another day and still expect to retain our place as a preferred destination.”

CITA and ACT both said that they would be encouraging government to expeditiously finalise the necessary EIA and any further negotiations that must take place to bring the project to fruition.

 

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Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    At some point in time the government will accept the economic downturn and realize the spending on such projects will hurt the people of the Cayman Islands. Thank goodness there is an upcoming election. Hopefully they can stop this maddness.

    This will be an election issue.

  2. Anonymous says:

     CITA supports destruction of the coral reef  as long as it benefits them – nice!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The short sightedness of these groups concerns me. Don’t these groups look to the future beyond their own pocket books? The George Town area is too small to contain both the cargo and berthing facilities. Obvious congestion will hinder future port growth, don’t these people understand this most obvious reality? Where will we be in 25 years when the port no longer serves the needs of the islands increased population?