September 20, 2019

Cayman Islands: Eastern District tourism incentives

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MLA Arden Mclean

Caymanians who want to develop tourism-based businesses in Bodden Town, East End and North Side will soon be entitled to incentives through concessions which will include the removal of government development fees, trade and business licensing fees, import duty and tourism related fees.

The concessions will be available for any Caymanian entrepreneur proposing small tourism business developments, where their construction value falls below CI$500,000 or where the business does not have greater than CI$500,000 gross revenue per year.

This package of concessions was agreed in the Legislative Assembly during the passage of Private Members Motion #11 of 2018/19, “Concessions for Tourist related Businesses”, which was brought by MLA Mr. Arden Mclean (EE) and seconded by MLA Mr. Christopher Saunders (BTW).

The motion asked the Government to agree a package of concessions designed to stimulate tourism development in the Eastern districts with an emphasis on smaller bed and breakfast and other similar establishments.

The motion, which originally asked for the threshold to qualify for concessions to be set at CI$300,000, was amended by Hon. Minister Moses Kirkconnell, increasing the threshold to CI$500,000. A second amendment was then proposed safeguarding the concessions to only Caymanian entrepreneurs. The motion received unanimous support from the Legislature.

Speaking during the debate Mr. Mclean said that, “for years the Eastern districts have suffered from the lack of tourism related businesses, and I believe it has come about because we have not been as active in promoting the Eastern districts as we should have been, for a long time”.

He went on to remark on the success experienced by existing businesses but noted that, “there is so much more to be done, to be seen in those districts”.

Mr. Mclean added that very little is known about the Eastern districts by existing operators in the market, and that the Eastern districts did not receive their fair share of tourist visitors because the lack of development did not align with the focus of those businesses who have focused their tourism products and services on the Western side of Grand Cayman. He noted that if the people of the Eastern districts were given the incentives through concessions, East End, North Side and Bodden Town would capture a much larger share of the tourism market.

Seconder for the motion MLA Christopher Saunders stated, “I am very happy that this motion received the necessary support and I am hoping that thismotion will encourage many Caymanians to make the necessary investments to avail themselves in the growing AirBnB rental market and make additional income. It is all about improving the quality of life for our people.”.

The motion received the support of Tourism Minister Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, who stated in his debate that, “he believes that a more aggressive policy for the small entrepreneur who is just becoming involved in tourism is needed and it is recognized in the motion”.

The Government will now consider the resolutions of the motion and put the various incentives in place.  

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