Tourism boss departs for mystery new career

| 15/11/2013

(CNS): The man credited with turning Cayman’s declining overnight tourism visitors around to record highs over the past few years is leaving government to pursue a new undisclosed career in the private sector. Shomari Scott, who through the clever use of internet and social media, among other initiatives, moved a ten percent fall to a more than 23% increase after taking the top job in an acting capacity in 2009, has resigned from the director’s post at the Department of Tourism. He will be leaving at the end of December, leaving Rosa Harris and Oneisha Richards joint acting directors. "There is never perfect timing to move on,” Scott said in a release announcing his departure.

“However the team at the CIDOT has been built to be strategic, innovative and result driven and I am therefore confident that they will take the department to even greater heights,” he added. “After more than a decade in government service within the tourism industry, and with the accomplishments the team has helped to achieve, it is time for me to further my professional career by pursuing another opportunity that gets me just as excited as tourism, and also stays in line with working for good of the country.”

Scott was the department’s first intern in 1996. After completing his studies at Stetson University in 2002, he returned tothe Cayman Islands and joined the DoT full time, where he has worked for the last 11 years. During his tenure he rose through the ranks, working in 5 different positions, from events coordinator through to director. He took over the helm as acting director in 2009 during one of the worst economic recessions in modern history, when stay-over tourism arrivals had decreased by 10 percent. With the assistance of a strong internal management team and his marketing skills, he presided over a dramatic increase of 23 percent in the 4 years that followed.

Moses Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister, said Scott’s departure was a huge loss to the industry and to government.

“However I am pleased that he is staying within the CaymanIslands and will continue to focus his efforts towards the ultimate goal of increasing the economic benefits for the people of the Cayman Islands,” he said, without hinting what Scott had chosen to do.
“He has my full support and I wish him all the best in this new chapter of his life. The ministry and I also have full confidence in the senior leadership team that has been established at the CIDOT and anticipate as seamless a transition as can be expected."

Chief Officer for the ministry, Stran Bodden, said it had been an absolute pleasure to work with Scott, adding that the deputy directors would share the responsibility for managing the department until the prescribed recruitment process was complete.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Statistics are very easily manipulated. No man is an island. It takes a team not one man. Let's put praise where it is due or at least share it around.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      Ast the Man leading the team he deserves the praise and more. Poor chile probably burned out from having to deal with the bureaucracy that does not permit quick to market decisions and lacks knowledge of anything that is or could be good for these Islands.  Best of everything to you, luck did not make you, you and your knowledge and efforts did.

  2. anonymous says:

    The tourism numbers wax and wane depending on many factors, this time around it was that wonderful "CaymanKind" promotion that promoted a different side to the Cayman Islands. It made us "seem" more interesting a destination, sadly the jingle was great but the jig is up. Our product is mediocre at best, in comparison to other regional destinations, and Shomari knows its time to jump ship before the next decline. Rosa and Oneisha are both competent  and will now have to produce comparable results with less resources. My advice would be to spend less $$ on glossy ads and more on enhancing the product.  Word of mouth goes a long way! Good luck ladies, buckle up everyone… were all in for a ride!!!

  3. Curry Docta says:

    Head East my son, I hear there’s gold mine$ in dem there hills/rocks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bo Miller would make an excellent interim director of DOT – he has the experince in the Cayman tourism product that works, he has some excellent ideas and can map out the way forward …. we need to reach back into our community and use the resources we already have who can have a positive impact on future Caymanians entering the industry. Shomari was an example of a young Caymanian's view of the tourism product – how about trying a Caymanian with the experince and understanding of what made the Caymanian Tourism product what it use to be … makes logical sense to many …. and at this juncture in the retooling of our product, Mose and Bo would make a stable winning team who can hit the beach running ….by truly understand what the Cayman Islands Tourism product is all about.

    • SSM345 says:


      So your suggestion is to use an outdated understanding of tourism and memories of what is used to be like to promote Cayman going forward? Ever heard the expression "flogging a dead horse"?


      Have you noticed that the old is broken? Have you noticed we need to change our product to compete with the rest of the world? Have you noticed that just about every aspect of Cayman life is backwards and outdated?

      Shall we return to thatch rope making as well as a main pillar of our economy?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Give the guy some credit.  Caribbean tourism is a highly competitive environment.  There are many (less expensive) destinations with a lot more to offer.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    I wish Shomari all the best in his future endeavors!

    But…Let's not fall all over ourselves by effusively crediting one individual for any "turn-around" I have not seen anything impressive coming out of that department over the last few years!

    As far as I am concerned Tourism has been on Cruise control, I cannot point to one single sustained effort, rather, there have been a plethora of short burst campaigns that were about as longlasting as the average Nor'wester and had about an equal amount of impact.

    Let me hasten to add that Shomari is not to blame for that either, I doubt that the Tourism department is anydifferent from any other Government department, with conflicting policies and frequent changes in directions from above plus all the other special interest influences.

    So…I wish Shomari all the best in his future endeavors!

  7. Anonymous says:

    You really think that ONE person can make a difference in the amount of tourists visiting ?

    It is the american economy that determines that.

    The cayman islands are, and will be, a place where you can hide your money, that's all.


  8. Foreign Devil says:

    Good on yuh son, time to fly.

  9. Olson A. says:

    Clearly a loss to the Cayman tourism product. Whomever replaces Mr. Scott will have big shoes to fill. Good luck, if you ever need luck, with your future. 

  10. Anonymous says:

    hilarious. after a 10% decline in 2009 to over 23% now. ever consider the economy in the US had anything to do with it? you could have employed a monkey during this time and the numbers would have been similar. not saying anything negative about him, but to shower him with those stats as though he 'produced' them is rediculous. congrats on being in the right job at the right time shomari, and best of luck in the real world.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not all arrivals are stay-over…there are a lot of intransit tourists

  12. Anonymous says:

    Very good innings Mr. Scott.  Well done.  You are a shining example of how young Caymanians even more so young people should stay focus and move aggressively in their professional development through education and hard work.  Your humility is also a good example for these youngsters that believe that once they graduate high school or college they should get the "big post" without taking the time to learn the "work" and further develop their professional skills.  Just a reminder to the Caymanians and expats – Mr. Scott is a born Jamaican that has become a Caymanian. This says a lot – a man that believes and is dedicated to his adopted country despite all the negative talk about his birth place.  (And there are many more prominent business people here that weren’t born in Cayman or have any grandparents in the cemetery before their arrival and their businesses have become pillars of the local economy). Expats do want to contribute positivity to the Cayman Islands if given a chance without the constant reminder that they are expats.  One Love Cayman and appreciate a son of the Jamaican soil.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not quite sure how to respond to this one! Perhaps the writer is not aware of Shomari Scott's Caymanian and, more specifically, Cayman Brac roots but I sure am and most importantly, so does he. I am happy to have both Jamaican and Caymanian heritage and I cherish them both. Let's stop the division.

      • Anonymous says:

        I do not know Mr Scott and he may have been born in Jamaica as well as his father and grandfatrher Scott   but his grandfather Scott  is the son of a fifth or sixth generation Caymanian, therefore he has Caymanian lineage going back to late 1700s/early 1880s through the Scotts.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope the writer is aware of Cayman Brac roots – less than 80 miles south east

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is his nationality an issue? Is this an issue for him .. or you? Why bring him into your personal agenda or hangup? If only everyone would be grateful for the opportunties afforded to us in our adopted country. Some of us keep looking back and comparing. We should all make an effort to build the country that has afforded us some very good opportunities and go forward. Why do some of us find it difficult to say, 'Thank you'?      

      • Anonymous says:

        Isn't that typical of some ou us.  Always bite off the hand that feed you.

    • Anonymous says:

      By the way Mr. Scott also descends from Cayman Brac!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of Caymanians were born in Jamaica. So what.  Can't he just be judged on his qualifications and his achievements instead of the country he was born in.  By your standards, Tara Rivers, is an Expat contributing positively to Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        No time for nationaility conflict.  I always knew his father as a Cayman Bracker.   Can you read me?

  13. says:

    All the best in your new carreer Shomari.  You will succeed in whatever endeavor you focusyour considerable skills on.  The tourism industry will miss you.  

  14. Anonymous says:

    Really unfortunate departure..Shomari really had the youth, excitement and knowledge to move the Cayman Tourism industry into the 21st century.  BIG LOSS FOR DOT and CI GOVT.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Shomari on your next career move and no doubt you will be missed for your valuable contributions to DOT.

    To Rosa and Oneisha  you will have big shoes to fill and good teamwork will be the key continued success.

    Good Luck and God Bless.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Too bad, this guy is very capable and knows what he is doing. This is not good news for the tourism association.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Record highs?  You should look at the figures pre-9/11. Cayman was here before 2004 you know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please, an economy that is growing and recovering is the reason for tourism figures improving. People who have confidence in their future situation tend to participate in spending. And vacation is one of these spending paterns they take part in.

      • Anonymous says:

        Among the arrivals are a great deal of in-transit however they are being included in stay over tourism.  In early 2009 the restrictions on travelling to Cuba were eased by U.S. and the flights to Cuba from here have been steadily increasing. 

        • Anonymous says:

          You clearly know nothing about how the statistics are compiled. Intransit visitors are not counted as tourists. That used to be an issue but was fixed by CIDOT over a decade ago. 

          • Sir Turtle says:

            For those of you submitting thumbs down here I can only offer this saying: "Disbelief does not change the truth".

          • Anonymous says:

            No, they fixed the part about counting returning residents over a decade ago.  The intransit issue only became an issue in more recent years, when a large number of Cuban Americans started going to Cuba through Cayman.  That said, whether or not they fixed this issue is immaterial to the fact that prior to 9/11, Cayman had many more stay-over visitors than it does now.  Given the decline of the stay-over tourism product because of various factors like bending over backwards for cruise tourist post 9/11, higher costs of a Cayman vacation and escalating crime, Cayman may never see those levels again.