Cayman’s tourist industry can raise its game by taking care of the small things, according to the boss of a transportation company.
Kenrick Webster, of Webster’s Tours, said that based on conversations with his customers and feedback from guests the island could do more to enhance the visitor experience.
“We need to be more creative with what we are doing as clients are looking for a unique experience. Most repeat guests say Cayman is lovely but wish there were more things to do. They want more local experiences and personal experiences, getting to know the natives
“I’ve been in the transportation and tourism industry and seen a lot of changes.
“One of the things I am concerned about is that a lot of people are in the industry for the dollar figure and they are losing that care. With the downturn of the economy my focus has been primarily on ensuring that I raise the bar for customer service.
“It was always of a high standard but people definitely want to get the best. Tourism is the biggest business on the island in terms of impact on touching lives to the smaller individual,” he said.
Examples of what could enhance the visitor experience at minimal or no cost could include signage to tell visitors where public rest rooms are and strategically-placed information kiosks manned by civil servants or retirees in the George Town area. Local crafts, musicians and market stalls in town could attract both cruise and stayover tourists during the day and evening, he said.
The tourism expert said that more training for the hospitality industry would be welcome, in addition to the PRIDE programme run by the Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
“We need a hotel training school if we are serious about the business like our neighbours are. The Bahamas has a tourism training institute; the cruise lines have a training school you have to go through. This is an indication that you are serious about doing what you are doing as a business.”
Education from a young age, felt the tour boss, is key to a successful Cayman, plus the diverse cultures working together on the island. Another major concern, said Kenrick, is the increase in crime particularly where it affects tourism or tourists directly.
“The direct contact, where people are robbing tourists, is a major concern. That word will spread and sooner or later we will have fewer tourists coming to the island because of the high crime rate.
“You cannot avoid crime but at the same time if we do the right PR and say exactly what we are intending to do about crime and get it across that we realise we are serious about this.
“We do not want to tolerate this type of behaviour – I’ve heard this from a lot of people within the island.”
Other things that had come to the fore included looking at the customer experience at the airport and the long lines waiting in the sun for cruise ship tenders, concluded Mr. Webster.
“These are small issues but addressing them we can show that we are concerned and care about the tourism product.”