Harry Lalli, Cayman Islands Tourism Association president

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What’s the way forward?

We need to increase tourism numbers to get those figures back up to where they should be. How we get there includes measures that won’t cost millions, such as increasing airlift by pushing forward with US pre-clearance, which will make connections much better for us because it will enable us to fly into domestic US airports as well as international ones, and better promoting Cayman’s best-kept secret – its wonderful choice of condominiums on the beach.
They are much better priced than hotels but are only enjoying about 50 per cent occupancy. We need to get owners to join the short term rental pool and deliver this product online. In this way we could double or even treble our roomstock without the need for new development. A new resort will only bring rewards two to three years down the line from inception whereas businesses in Cayman need help now. The benefits derived from  an increase in tourism numbers speak for themselves, including higher spends in restaurants and bars, of particular importance since the hike in work permit fees has double their cost for our industry.