Turtle farm goes back to roots

| 10/09/2010

(CNS): The management team at the Turtle Farm says it is dropping the name Boatswain’s Beach and returning to the original name of The Cayman Turtle Farm. Announcing a rebranding of the facility this morning, Managing Director Tim Adam said it was about returning to a simpler more relevant title for both locals and overseas visitors. He added that the rebrand was the start of the next phase of the facility’s development. With the cost cutting exercise over, the farm crew was focusing on attracting more visitors. Adam, who has been in post since January this year and already has a reputation for tackling the difficult issues, spearheaded the move for a return to the original name, which is likely to receive popular support. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

With a tightening budget and well aware of the size of the subsidy the facility receives, Adam said it was now time to boost the number of guests coming to the park and improve revenues. The first step towards that was the rebranding exercise. “We will change the name of the facility, dropping entirely the Boatswain Beach reference returning to an earlier, easier, and frankly simpler title of The Cayman Turtle Farm,” the MD said. There will be a short subtitle to indicate the parks other attractions of “Island wildlife encounter”, which describes the interactive nature of the facility.
Adam pointed out that among locals the name had never gone away and overseas guests were merely confused by the name, especially with the reference to ‘beach’ as that was clearly misleading. AS the world’s only turtle farm and a really unique facility, Adam said everyone from cruise line partners and others were all in agreement.
Ken Hydes, a former MD of the facility and now chairman of the board of directors, put his hand up and admitted he had been part of the team that had made the name change. “It is not often that one gets the opportunity to correct one’s mistakes, but now I have,” he said.
With a return to a name that more accurately describes the facility, Adam said that was the first step in a new marketing effort to sell the facility to stay-over tourists, which he said were traditionally under-represented. He said the name change was only the first step in a series of initiatives and programmes at The Cayman Turtle Farm that would enhancie the customer experience and raise our revenues.
Aware of costs, Adam told the press the rebrand and the marketing programme would be phased and would be sensibly managed, keeping costs to a minimum. “Our strategy includes improving local public opinion, specifically by emphasising the world class science, research and wildlife rescue at the Farm,” he said, adding that it would be seeking to segregate the research facilities as a trustworthy charitable non-profit endeavour, enabling easier access to funding from various organisations and international grants.
Adam admitted that despite the programme to enhance traditional cultural events at the facility and to introduce local entertainment, plus an all out push to bring in new visitors, it would be some time before the facility was self-sufficient. He said it was too early and very difficult to say what the optimum number of visitorswould be to achieve that goal as it depended on a number of variables. However he said everyone at the farm was committed towards reducing the government subsidy.
Hydes noted that after a number of very tough decisions the farm had already reduced the subsidies and loans which it received from $12 million down to $9 million. But turning the deficit around would take some time. The management team pointed to the debt acquired as a result of the development of the new facility, which was still taking its toll and represented a significant part of the park’s operating costs.
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  1. Lister says:

    This is great news, Mr. Adam has great foresight.  If there was anything on govt. assets that needs a rebranding is that place.  Might be worth leasing out certain parts of the turtle farms to drive revenues as well.

    Now if they could take turtle meat prices down another 10 notches!

  2. Anonymous says:

    First of all, it is considered to be on North West Point Road not Boatswain Bay. Secondly, a Boatswain or Bosun is an unlicenced deckhand on a merchant ship. Thirdly, turtles are the lifeblood of that place and the whole reason why the farm was created over 40 years ago. Should have never been renamed cause all it does is confuse the tourist because the name makes absolutely NO SENSE!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Boatswain Beach project was another of Mckeeva Bush’s massive failures that has cost this country millions of dollars! Talk about embarrassing for Mckeeva Bush. The Boatswain Beach redevelopment cost over $60 million & has cost the government about $10 million every year to keep it open & operational. And he has the nerve to crticize the schools that were started under the PPM? Schools are far more important than a $60 million beach "attraction," & at least we know where all the money went that was spent on the schools (NOT in any politician’s pockets).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody got $40,000 they can loan me for a drink?

  4. Anonymous says:

    As a businessman who pays all of his government licensing fees, work permits and duties it disgusts me that I have to directly compete against an entity that I, essentially fund. Government has NO business competing in the private sector, that goes from Cayman Airways, to the Turtle Farm, to Pedro and all of their other failed ventures. The next time they come up with another "sure win" project I hope that someone will stand up and say "That’s enough".

    • Anonymous says:

      I think your point has merit but is a bit too blunt and broad.  A case can be made for Cayman Airways as a national utility given the need for transportation links to the US and air evacuation issues come storms. 

      Certain sites of historic interest can be justified on as a role of government in preserving centres of important cultural interest.  And given how few of those there are in Cayman, Pedro might be justified – it is not really "competing" within anyone.

      But with the Turtle Farm you are 100% right.  It was a naive and ill-conceived disaster from the start.  But the financial woes caused by it might just be karma visited on Cayman for the sin of gluttony of those that hunted and ate the turtles to the stage that they need saving.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I recently visited Boatwain’s Beach again (I have been a few times over the last few years).  It was a very disappointing visit.  Only some of the attractions were open, and the snorkeling lagoon continues to be plagued by heaps of algae making swimming in it an unpleasant (and possibly unsanitary) experience.  At least I didn’t have to fight crowds – it was a Saturday and there were only a handful of people there. 

    The good news is I think Tim Adam is standing up and making the tough decisions necessary to move the facility forward from the current money pit that it is.  Good for Ken Hydes too for his admission that the name change was a mistake.  Everybody makes mistakes,but being able to admit it and move on is a tougher thing to do. 

    Maybe some day the government will be able to stop throwing money at this place.  It is unthinkable to me that the government feels compelled to support the Turtle Farm with almost $10M per year, yet the only government college on the island receives a mere $4M per year.  Which facility do you think contributes more to the Cayman Islands?  Which facility has a greater impact on young Caymanians? Which facility is in broken down old buildings in the shadow of an extravagant new high school?  Doesn’t anybody else see the significance of the mixed up priorities here?  I suppose Mr. Mac does, but we all know how much value he puts on education.

  6. Cuz says:

    Best damm option I heard in a long time. It has always been Turtle Farm to me and my family/friend + host of Caymanains. Good move Tim….BTW, go back to LIME and change that name now please :))  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Friday 22:15 –

    I apologize and you took my comments wrong, this was not about eating turtle or national heritage in anyway, I have no problem at all with the consumption of turtle…

    My point is the interaction between the exhibit of the turtles, the fantastic efforts to save and and grow the turtle population should be separated at least on the same site from the eating of what you are saving. 

    My point again is they are separate functions (conservation and farming) certainly discuss how the turtle has been a staple of diet for the Island and how the turtle is part of the Islands heritage.  But if you are going to eat turtle, I just don’t think eating it right where they are swimming around you makes great sense as most people will develop a very strong bond with a turtle right away especially when you hold one or swim with one.

    I don’t think I’d enjoy a cheeseburger nearly as much as I do if I’m standing inthe pasture withthe cows.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Oh I remember the hype when the UDP Administration were pushing the Boatswain Beach’s dream.  They said they had the figures to prove it was going to succeed and make skins of money.  Any fool can plug figures into a spreadsheet, but are those figures real world figures or a hypothesis of wishful, fanciful dreams?  And Boatswain Beach became just one in a long line of failures.  Have you ever thought of this – First Cayman Bank failed, Boatswain Beach failed, Affordable Housing Scheme failed, Pedro Castle failed, the CNB insurance settlement on behalf of government failed to give government value for money, the Ritz Carlton customs duty default – failed, the first hearing on the Tom Jones matter failed, the promises to turn around the economy and put people back to work, failed.  I guess in a few years we will also be hearing, "world class cruise facility – F_ _ _ ed!"  We the public certainly haven’t seen any figures to show what it is going to take to service the financing of it and what their real world revenues currently are.  It just seems no one is in touch with reality and what it takes to pay back borrowed money.  So if history repeats itself, it too is bound to be a f _ _ _ ure.  I am afraid to even say the word.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank God we have another smart Caymanian who is not blind sighted to the failures of the UDP government! Yeah you are right Boatswain Beach new name branding was a project of McKeeva Bush and his stupid A@# government! I am so sick of their BS! The people of West Bay and Cayman that put these people, UDP, in house can’t you take a moment stand in front the mirror and remove the webbing from your eyes! Then again money goes a long way. Wow! I am so fed up I

  9. Joe from NY says:

    I went to visit the turtle farm for the first time when I dropped my daughter off at St Matthews University.  I was shocked that the place had so few guests for a Saturday.  You have a great attraction on a fantastic island.  Name change was a great Idea – I had a difficult time finding it with the existing name on my GPS.  Smart move.

    • Anonymous says:

      Again, I would like to suggest ‘Pirates Week’ as the new name.  It’s already branded, was wildly popular, and has been cancelled if I remember correctly. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Friday 17:43 – Once and for all I wish people would stop deriding us and criticizing us for eating turtle meat. We don’t criticize those who eat blood sausage (black pudding), sheep’s stomach (haggis), seal blubber, chicken embryo (balut), goat fetus (kutti pi) and other recognized national ‘delicacies’. Of course the detractors will counter that these other foods are not from a protected species, whereas the turtle meat is. That is indeed the point, the turtle is protected and that protection is strictly enforced but it is perfectly legal in the Cayman Islands to purchase and consume farm-raised turtle meat.

    The detractors should recognize that turtles were not always protected whereas eating turtle meat has always been a staple of the Cayman Islands, going back to our forefathers – some of whom we share with the very people who criticize us – Eurpoean adventurers (or pillagers) whose primary reason to pass by the Cayman Islands was to stock-up their galleys with turtle meat.

    Perhaps one day, like many other valuable facets of our culture, the eating of turtle meat will only be a historical recollection but until then leave us alone with our national habits! You don’t have to join in.

    BTW, I am a born and raised Caymanian who has never eaten turtle meat for personal reasons but I will fiercely speak out in favour of the right of those who choose to do so, legally. 


  11. Anonymous says:

    Great Idea, the name should have never been changed from ‘The Turtle Farm’ in the first place.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good riddence to Boatswain’s Beach, welcome Turtle Farm.

    Boatswain’s Beach is a monument to corruption and incompetance (I wish I could name names but this post would get deleted).

    I sincerely hope that Mr. Tim can get things back under control and get the Turtle Farm back into a profit making enterprise.

    A firm (and compationate) hand is needed in order to turn the Turtle Farm back into a win-win-win situation that benefits Caymanians (in the long run), tourists (in the short run) and the turtles (in the very, very long run).

    Mr. Tim appears to be taking the first steps to making this happen. I support his hard working efforts.

    • Anonymous says:

      not sure why they would censor named names… nothing would ever come of it legal-wise anyway.  Never has, never will. That’s the beauty here, you can be outraged and complain all you want, but when you get right down to it, it’s either not illegal or there is nothing in place to enforce the law. 

      May as well jump on the bandwagon and start your own little enterprise.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Finally you people have come to your senses the name should have never been changed in the first place. Stop making all these insane / ridiculous changes and then regretting down the road. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    just still seems weird to me to go to a nice place where you can see such a magnificant creature, interact with and hold them and then go eat them in the same venue…

    Tourists go to zoo’s to all over the world but you don’t get tiger steaks or elephant stew to complete your visit.  Just thinking that separating the conservation and farming / eating aspect might be even better for the cruise shippers (especially the little ones) who may be a little shocked about the eating part!

  15. whodatis says:

    Good move – "Boatswain’s Beach" means diddly squat to a visitor … even to many locals – myself included when it first came about.

    I was like – where is / what is that?

    "Turtle Farm" – any questions?

  16. Anonymous says:

    same govt that CAL re branding under the PPM was a waste ha!

    • Anonymous says:

      Ehm…Boatswain’s Beach was thought-up/developed during the previous UDP administration.

  17. Anonymous says:

    What a waste of money.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Timmy…Keep up the good work, if anyone can do this you can..

    I know the political will may not always be behind you but don’t give up on us yet.

    Who said our own Caymanians are smart enough to get the job done!!

  19. Joe Average says:

    I prefer Turtle Farm to Money Pit and I never liked Boatswain’s.

  20. anonymous says:

    FINALLY!  Someone is listening to the people.  Boatswaine was a BIG mistake and only now, the mistake is realized.  Now complete the process and bring back the specialized doctor for the turtles.  Do away with some of those lights and cut down on the noise process.  Our turtles needs to start producing.  They will be all we will have left to call our own, in the near future.

  21. Cayman Creative says:

    And while you’re at it, please incorporate some Caymanian themed things for the tourists to buy.  There’s a lovely courtyard outside where temporary kiosks (little carts on wheels) could be placed.   We have rum cakes, seasalt, hot pepper jelly, Hawley’s fruit jams, caymanite, hot sauces, thatch, soaps, stickie toffee cakes, patties, local ice cream, artwork, Cayman taffy …. and so much more.  Create a mini-market of sorts and advertise it heavily and it will attract people to the ‘new’ turtle farm.  And, don’t charge the vendors an arm and a leg to set up thier carts otherwise they won’t participate.  In fact give them free space – they’re taking a gamble as well. 

    • Anonymous says:
      Great Idea, give the tourist that they want, crafts, gift that are Cayman made..Keep the cost down for the vendors. I love this, get the People involved. I know I will come over from The Brac, if they go this way..
  22. peter milburn says:

    Thats the way it should have been in the first place.Good on you Timmy.Now if they could get someone else to take over the Boatswain Beach part!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Eeva McBush says:

    Please tell me this is some kind of a sick joke. Boatswains beach is the best idea our intrepid leader ever had. Never have public funds been spent so wisely!

    Chuckie, let’s march to save Boatswain’s Beach!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Sensible move.


  25. Anonymous says:

    At last a move in the right direction. I wonder how much McKeeva’s Boatswain’s Beach disaster cost Cayman? Will he be man enough to admit this fiasco is all his fault? Or as normal will he try to blame Kurt and the PPM?

    • Anonymous says:

       Amen.  Please accept the blame of overinflated egos that thought that tourists would pay Disney prices for a poorly planned (boring) venue.  There is a really great tour guide there though…. a North American fellow who is funny and informative.  Please keep him, he has been here for a few years and does a fab job!  The tourists love to hear that the turtles get to go to the "happy tank" when they reach breeding age 🙂

      Thank you Tim for doing the right thing.  It was not popular in West Bay I am sure, but still the right thing.  

      UDP and PPM please just let Timmy go and slash our spending with a 90 day free hand and he would get the government back on track.  Finally, a businessman who actually thinks about profit & loss instead of votes….

      Throw the rest of the bums out and let Tim run the country.  He will make the difficult decisions and may not be popular at first, but your grandchildren would thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Will he be man enough …. I’m gonna guess …. no