Cayman heads to Chelsea

| 14/05/2009

(CNS): Britain’s foremost horticultural event, the Chelsea Flower Show, will feature an exhibition by the Department of Tourism that showcases the Cayman Islands’ world-famous nature product above and below land. It has been designed by Andrew Guthrie of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and Stephen Hendry from Newington Nurseries in Oxfordshire, the same partnership that last year produced a silver medal award winning exhibition for the Cayman Islands’s first ever appearance at the Chelsea Flower Show (Left: 2008 exhibit "The Heritage Garden").

In announcing the exhibit, Tourism Minister Charles Clifford said, “The ‘Cayman Islands Undersea Reef Garden’ will be a stunning replica of the beautiful coral gardens found surrounding our islands through the use of artificial coral and plants that mimic underwater plant life.”

Following the loss of a major part of last year’s exhibit, Ghost and Banana orchids that were seized by Dutch customs officers on their way to London, no aspect of this year’s exhibit is being imported, though the DoT notes that the destination’s floral and natural product is core to the overall message that is being conveyed, alongside Cayman’s world-class dive product. Both Guthrie and Hendry will be in the delegation at the Chelsea Flower Show which is led by Don McDougall and his team from the Department of Tourism’s London-based office.

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute, which has its research centre on Little Cayman, will also be represented in the delegation by Peter Hillenbrand, Chairman of CCMI and owner of Southern Cross Club. With the environmental message being a top line discussion point for media attending the Chelsea Flower Show, Hillenbrand will be on hand to endorse the Cayman Islands’ marine conservation policy and other environmental initiatives such as the Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS).

The Sister Islands will also enjoy profile at the show through the life-sized mural of Bloody Bay Wall, by underwater photographer Jim Hellemn, which is being used as a backdrop to the Cayman Islands.

Information about Cayman’s endemic wildlife, ranging from the Blue Iguanas to the butterflies of the Cayman Islands, will also be included in the promotional and press material.
The BBC will be broadcasting live form the Chelsea Flower show again this year and has already committed to several interviews at the Cayman Islands Undersea Reef Garden.

Don McDougall, regional manager, Europe for the Department of Tourism says: “The Chelsea Flower Show is a superb venue to meet a large number of our potential target market. It gives us an unrivalled opportunity to showcase the Cayman Islands to the 170,000 show visitors and everyone who watches it on television and reads about it in the national media”.


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