Clock ticks on Chamber’s cruise survey

| 16/10/2014

(CNS): The local Chamber of commerce is urging its members to take its on-line survey about the proposed cruise berthing facility in government before the web-based questionnaire closes at the end of this month. The Cayman Islands Government is proposing to develop a cruise berthing facility in the George Town harbour with two finger piers to accommodate the next generation of mega cruise ships. The construction of this new facility will require dredging of the sea floor, land reclamation activities, construction of retaining walls, drilling and blasting.

The debate about constructing cruise berthing facilities in George Town has raged for many years and the former UDP government committed to develop the facility during the last administration but the project was derailed as a result of a number of issues, but mostly because of the government’s failure to follow due process in its efforts to find a private sector partner to not only construct but also finance the project.

The issue has however remained controversial and although the cruise tourism sector is extremely eager to see the piers built not everyone in the tourism business is supportive and the wider public is divided over the need for such a costly project. Even though government will be seeking a partner to finance the project in the first instance, the investment will be recoupled from the cruise ship passenger fees.

The PPM is committed to the project and has already spent several million dollars on consultants, the strategic business cases and the environmental impact assessment but the Chamber is seeking a definitive position on the project from its more than 700 members.

“This survey has been developed to seek your views on the proposed project and the likely potential impacts associated with the construction and operational phases,” said Johann Moxam as he urged people to participate in the survey and make their voice heard. “All information provided will be kept confidential and will assist the Chamber Council with determining the membership's collective view on this proposed infrastructure project.”

See the survey here

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Can we limit the cruise ships to ones with rich people?   Hordes of overweight, cheap cruise-cattle meandering around GT filling in time until they go back aboard to gorge themselves is not exactly a great plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don't think your piggish attitude towards guests to the Cayman Islands isn't felt by them.

      You are certainly someone to be proud of yourself. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is actually a VERY INTELLIGENT observation, makes perfect Economical sense and is not prejudicial at all.

       Economics teaches us that about 85% of the wealth is concentrated in15% of the populace, and the other 15% is spread out among the remaining 85% of the population.

       It would make perfect Economic sense for a small demographic such as ours to concentrate on and cater to the wealthy, by promoting and maintaining our islands as an EXCLUSIVE destination for the rich, rather than another run-of-the-mill common Caribbean tourist trap that we have become.

       Back in the 1980’s BEFORE the influx of the floating Carnival Cattle-troughs, we enjoyed a standard of living that greatly exceeded what we have today, because we concentrated on the ‘stay-over’ visitors, and not the ‘day-cruisers’.

       But the wealthy want peace and quiet, friendly interaction with the local people and culture, and to be able to walk the streets without being harassed, or stepped-on by some mindless buffoon who comes ashore to steal postcards from the craft-market (oops, that’s now gone).

       The idea was sold to us that by increasing the number of cruise-ships, we would also increase the number of stay-over visitors by default, as they would come back for longer vacations once they ‘had a taste’ of what we had to offer.

       But what exactly do we have to offer? Touts who pose as ‘Tour operators’ harassing you to take ride on ‘The Death-trap trolley” as it bobs and weaves down a main road further obstructing traffic on our already overly-congested waterfront? (How did something so unsafe ever get licensed for use on the public roads?)

       Or perhaps 5,000 day-trippers fighting for lounge-chairs on the Public beach or at Royal Palms, or the ‘standing room only’ Stingray City experience?

       Alas no, this has actually had exactly the OPPOSITE effect, because now we have moved from ‘Exclusive’ to ‘common-place’ … basically, we have devalued our tourism product through poor planning and greed.

       Now there are many who would dis-agree with me and even dispute my comments. To those of you I say ”remember the 1980’s”, BEFORE we made this dramatic change to our tourist product.

       What were we earning per week in the 80’s? What could we buy with it?

       What does someone doing that SAME job earn now, in 2014? Now tell me, what can THAT buy?

       Have you seen George Town when the cruise ships are not in? It’s a comparative ‘Ghost-town’. Half of the old Caymanian stores are empty or have gone out of business altogether. Where is our CAYMANIAN culture? GOD bless what little local culture we had. Replaced with cheap ‘made in China’ plastic souvenirs that say CAYMAN ISLANDS?

       Condos on 7MB lie unused, some for months and even years at a time.

       We have already sold our heritage, are we now going to also do nothing while the goose that lays our golden egg lays dying?                                                                                                This is a Golden Opportunity for us to re-think and re-vamp our Tourist product. To focus on our future as a nation, and to utilise the few natural resources that we actually posses to achive long-term benefit for our nation as a whole.                                                                The financial industry is dying. As the world shrinks and the greed of the Developed Nations seeks to rob us of our hard earned reputation as a Major Financial facilitator, we need to implement NEW ideas and plans BEFORE it is too late. Like Dubai, we need to do this BEFORE we "run out of oil" so to speak.                                                                             What of our Chamber of Commerce? Silent as usual ! Too busy bestowing praise and accolades amongst themselves to be of any real use to anyone, not even thier own members.                    

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realise that the rich ones tend to be the cheapest of all right. It might be better to get a lot of mid class people in here all spending a portion of dollars than waiting on the rich.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jolly good then. So which one of you business people writing on this blog are in the cruise business?

    So your solution is don't build the docks and do what? The environment has been hit by anchors because people like you don't want to build a cruise facility. By the way this island is 66% swampland who has built their houses and other developments on the swamp? Not cruise ships. Cruisers use only 2 spots on 7 mile beach. Royal palms and public beach next to Calico Jack. They use a small piece of property on stingray city. Who uses the majority of the reefs ? Divers who pollute and destroy reefs all over 7 mile beach. Don't think so? Watch when dive boats come up to the beach to load and unload .Go in the water with a mask and see the huge hole they leave behind causing beach erosion. Divers who don't have a lot of experience touch and fall on reefs because improper buoyancy. I can go on and on.

    What do you think would work better then cruise ship tourism? Factories? Farming? What ?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would worry more about the crime than the cruise dock. If the island becomes? a haven for crime, tourists will go elsewhere. There are beaches in a lot of destinations and many of those are less expensive than GC.

  4. L.Bell says:

    Chamber should thorough read the "Long-Term Impacts of Non-Sustainable Tourism and Urban Development in Small Tropical Islands Coastal Habitats in a Changing Climate: Lessons Learned from Puerto Rico" by Edwin A. Hernndez-Delgado.

    Especially The rapid-growing cruise ship industry: Increasing revenues, but for who? .

    …tourist revenue flowing out of the country in which it was spent, a particular problem for many small islands.

    ..more than 50% of land-based activities are sold on board by the own cruise ships. From the value paid by cruisers for on shore activities, the local tour operator is left with a level of only 50% to 25% of that value. Tourism service providers who want to appear in advertisements delivered on board (videos, brochures, etc.) have to pay significant amounts for it.

    ….environmental costs to local people , which have also to absorb the socio-economic and environmental burden of massive pulses of visitors to locations which often lack most of the necessary infrastructure to support such level of visitors.

    ….localized pollution pulses on port cities that may often lack adequate infrastructure to cope with a high density of people, pollution, etc. Overcrowding caused by this behavior can inconvenience and annoy local residents, causing the locals to alter their daily behavior to avoid the central business district while cruise ships are in port . Also, local residents from port cities have complained about deriving little economic benefits but feeling a loss of quality of life  . Thus, socio-economic benefits vs. the cost of impacts need to be weighted in the formula, besides considering only the economic revenues, when strategies for expanding the tourism industry are considered by local governments.

    …direct discharges to the marine environment, including sewage, gray waters, hazardous wastes, oily bilge water, ballast water, and solid waste . Cruise ships often dump this waste, legally or illegally, into international waters, which are carried by currents throughout the Caribbean and Antilles. They also emit air pollutants to the air and water. The environmental costs of the sector are incalculable given that the cruise ship industry is unregulated and impacts are difficult to gauge. Even small-scale incidents such as propeller wash and anchoring can produce substantial physical damage on coral reefs habitats.

    …local governments in many small island nations have recently invested large amounts of money in high quality infrastructures to attend the new lines of colossal ships and thousands passengers arrivals but without any assurance that the benefits of attracting cruises to a tourism destination are higher than the costs . Therefore, the rapidly growing cruise tourism industry is actually forcing local governments from poor small nations to invest money on building new infrastructure to prevent large cruise lines from abandoning the destination.  


    • B. Hurlstone says:

      You cover a lot of points, Mr. Bell, and they are well taken.  Thanks for a great comment!

    • Anonymous says:

      If PPM go ahead with this it will be another white elephant for the government. Most people realise it is unnecessary and an expensive project that Cayman cannot afford. This redevelopment is solely about satisfying a few merchants at the expense of the entire country. Yet it will bankrupt future generations.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The people the Chamber of Commerce need to talk to are the cruise lines. The new mega-liners are being developed as floating amusement parks with everything provided onboard so passengers don't need to go ashore and they won't be operating anywere near Grand Cayman.

    It's time to dump this fantasy that building a dock will restore the Island'sfortunes and concentrate on stayover tourism where the real money is.   


  6. Grandfather Troll says:

    They won't let me take part in this survey because I'm not a member of the Chamber of Commerce.  Since I'm not a member I also won't be making loads of money selling goods and services to the multitudes of tourists.  All I expect to get is more traffic and congestion in George Town and higher taxes and fees to pay for the environent-destroying piers.  I guess that's the way it is when people put money above everything else.