Taste of Cayman is good for the economy and good for tourism both directly and indirectly, according to the organisers, with this year’s festival looking busy as ever.
In the bigger picture, the long-running epicurean event is of tourism value as well as being a fundraiser for the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, a non-profit body that represents over 200 private businesses in the industry.
“The association has an objective to serve the industry and support private sector’s role in marketing the Cayman Islands as a tourist destination, working hand in hand with the Department of Tourism as well as other parts of the government on policy decisions,” said outgoing executive director, Trina Savage.
“We are a non-profit organisation, so by raising funds at a fantastic community and visitor festival it allows us to focus on lots of other things throughout the year.”
The festival has evolved over the years with the strategic objective to align Taste with the branding of the Cayman Islands. Growth in attendance, more international media interest and more interest from tourists has given it a distinct identity which showcases local restaurants and local cuisine. The Camana Bay-based event, said Savage, now draws journalists and visitors to the island and there has been positive growth in the awareness and interest the event has brought.
“We have seen a rapid rate of sign ons for restaurant venues for 2012. Years ago we had to go out and chase them but the business model has changed and we have increased the benefits to businesses. It’s only Cayman Islands Tourism Association members that can participate.
“In fact, by mid-November we had over 20 restaurants signed on – we are used to receiving last minute sign ons so our target of 35 restaurants, in addition to all the other wine, spirit and other activities, will definitely be achieved.”
Taste of Cayman takes place at Camana Bay on Saturday, 28 January, 2012. It’s a venue, said Savage, which has evolved along with the festival itself.
“Every year they have more and more tenants and we hope it will be our venue going forward. It will shift and change as the town centre evolves. We need to be cognisant of that; we have a great relationship with the town centre team and they continue to be strong partners.”