Take a moment to talk to someone (resident or visitor) about Cayman’s culinary experience compared to their experiences in other Caribbean destinations and it won’t take long before you realise that the Cayman Islands is a unique culinary destination, writes Trina Christian, executive director with the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
But why is this important? Do visitors choose a destination because of its food? Research shows that the sensory experience created by the local cuisine is a primary motive for tourists to visit a destination. Cayman happens to provide exceptional culinary experiences in addition to our pristine underwater assets and our Caymanian warm welcome and hospitable nature.
Culinary uniqueness, as well as the natural charm and character of a destination, combined with specialised tourist information, is extremely important if we are to attract foodies, many of whom already fit the target demographic for the Cayman Islands.
This need for an epicurean focus in our destination marketing and advertising has already been identified and targeted over the last five years – but it’s now that we’re really beginning to take the campaign to a new level. In addition to the media exposure in culinary focused publications and at trade shows throughout North America, Cayman is now highlighting our own epicurean events to a global audience.
Taste of Cayman, Food & Wine Festival at Camana Bay, for example, takes place on 16 January and provides an opportunity to showcase and highlight the magnitude of our culinary talents. Expansive media coverage will ‘seduce’ future visitors to our destination by literally and guratively allowing them to have a ‘taste’ of what we have to offer. By giving our visiting journalists, residents and guests a chance to see the festival in action they will be able to gain surprising insights into the unique characteristics of our destination.
The Cayman Islands Tourism Association has taken integral steps to grow and change the annual Taste of Cayman event into a culinary festival that now focuses on food and wine and plans to compete with culinary festivals around the world, in the hope of claiming the title of the biggest and best in the Caribbean.
Due to the success of CITA’s Taste of Cayman and other events such as Cayman Cookout hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Culinary Month has been born. Beginning January, this allows an annual opportunity to connect CITA’s most successful and growing festival, Taste of Cayman, with other epicurean events on Island, united in the goal of creating an exciting month packed with activities to attract more tourists to the Cayman Islands, while raising additional funds for CITA’s programmes that support the improvement and sustainability of our tourism industry.
Awareness by those who travel of the importance of quality food continues to grow by regions and countries. Now tourists and residents alike can look forward to January as our hotels and restaurants create some mouth-watering activities and occasions to celebrate this important month of culinary excellence in the Cayman Islands.
The aims and objectives fit in line with CITA and The Department of Tourism’s overall business objectives as a tourism destination, which is to draw the attention of the world throughout the year while showcasing our culinary industry and creating not just one, but many first class events throughout the month of January. This gives local businesses and industry partners the opportunity to host unique and creative culinary events that will be supported and endorsed by CITA. This will ultimately draw people from around the globe to experience world-class food and wine in the stunning setting of the Cayman Islands.
Existing examples coming up this year are the second annual wine makers’ charity dinner, in addition to events that are being scheduled at the Grand Cayman Marriott, the Westin Casuarina and partner restaurants throughout January. We hope to add many more annual quality events in support of our vision as a tourism association and as a leading culinary destination in the Caribbean.
For more information call Cayman Islands Tourism Association on 949-8522