Author Archive: Robert McCrimmon

New Cruise Port ‘Full Steam Ahead’

Plans for a new cruise port in George Town are going ‘full steam ahead’, according to the Cayman Island Government.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin made the announcement at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon on Wednesday (30th of September).

The Cruise berthing has been the most controversial and divisive issue to face Cayman in recent years. Do the concerns over the damage to the coral reefs outweigh the many hundreds of people and families who rely on jobs created as a result of cruise tourism, and continue to rely on them for years to come ?

Eighty-five percent of tourists arrive to the islands by sea. At the moment the cruise ships must anchor offshore and taxi passengers to the shore. The new port includes docking and direct access to the shore.

Plans for a cable car style ‘Cayman’s Sky Bridge’ were proposed in August by the GreenTech Group, which would have seen passengers transported to the shore from two piers fixed to the sea bed outside the reef line. It would appear however, that the Cayman Government has dismissed that proposal for its original, more traditional one. (more…)

New Development in Bodden Town

On Thursday 24th of September the Cayman Government signed an agreement with developer John David Layton to construct a five-star hotel and condominium project in Beach Bay.

The project is set to start next year at St. James Point in the District of Bodden Town. Plans call for a branded hotel that includes a spa, restaurants, bars and retail space.

The developers have been talking with successive administrations for around seven years but after reaching an agreement with the government they are now ready to begin submitting planning applications.

The Cayman Government will be giving up a potential income of $25 million in concessions to ensure that the hotel and condo project gets built.

The Government believe that income for decades into the future from hotel room tax, visitor spend, duty from the sale of the condos will out weigh the duty waiver on construction material, furniture and fixtures for the construction, stamp duty, and non-consumable material for start-up of the facility. (more…)

Successfully Buy Investments Abroad

To successfully buy residential property investments abroad depends on understanding local and external forces. Population, affluence and supply of land and housing will all greatly affect house price growth in excess of general inflation. Without all of these variables the housing market can stall or even send values downward.

Savills have recently published ‘World Residential Markets – Performance and Prospects‘, a report that identities what strategies international investors should look to adopt to take advantage of the way the world economy is heading.

The research looks mostly at the rise of secondary properties, growth of second-tier cities and the rise of international resorts.

‘Safe havens’ like London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore have been and look likely to remain sound investments. The key to overseas investment is finding the higher yielding, lower-price purchases with higher capital growth potential.

One part of the world the report singled out was the Caribbean, and in particular, the Cayman Islands. Tourism is all important to the Caribbean, but Cayman like the British Virgin Islands benefits from a more diverse economy with more than half its GDP generated by the financial services sector. This attracts residents relocating from overseas businesses which in turn supports a prime residential market for long-term residents through high paid jobs. (more…)

Cayman Sky Bridge proposal

The big conversation in Grand Cayman at the moment is what to do with the cruise port.

It is widely agreed that the port needs expanding but environmentalists and locals have raised massive concerns over the damage the proposed new berthing port would do to acres of reef and animal habitats.

Currently, the Cayman Government has proposed a $250 million berthing facility that would fit up to four cruise ships with access directly to the shore. That proposal looks very much in doubt after an environmental impact statement was released 9th of June. It was estimated that around 15 acres of reef would be completely destroyed with another 20 acres negatively affected.

The impact of the project would affect Georgetown Harbor’s snorkeling, scuba diving, boat tours, recreational fishing, and other marine activities that brings between CI$19 million to CI$22 million annually to the Cayman Islands. (more…)

High Tourist Numbers Boost Cayman’s Economy

Cayman Hope Spot

Tourist numbers in Cayman hit an all time high in 2014 with air arrivals up 11 per cent on 2013 and cruise ship numbers up more than 23 percent.

This growth has resulted in developers building homes and expanding resort hotels. This has opened the door for investors to come in and buy houses and condos all over the Cayman Islands and capture the lucrative sun-seekers holiday and rental market.

High tourist numbers has been the catalyst for the boost to Cayman’s economy. Usually a quick increase in housing comes from a dramatic increase in population. However Caymans full time population, although steadily increasing, is still less than 60,000. (more…)

Cayman Work Permits increase 9 percent in a year

The number of non-Caymanian workers has steadily increased in the past two years, according to Immigration Department records. In 2012 the number was 20,360 to 22,232 in 2014.

Foreign workers are employed on work permits, government contracts, special economic zone permits or awaiting the outcome of permanent residence applications.

These figures support the trend of Caymans strong resurgence following the countries economic decline during the worlds recession of 2008-2009, in which non-Caymanian worker numbers dropped from its high of around 26,500 to around 18,500.

Non-Caymanian workers now make up about 51 percent of the total work force. Caymanian unemployment also dropped 1.5 percent to 7.9 percent, bringing Cayman’s total unemployment rate to 4.7 percent.

The rise in the workforce corresponds to the opening of Cayman Enterprise City, a knowledge-based and technology focused Special Economic Zone. Work permits have continually increased since its creation three years ago.

Immigration records reported about 250 work permits being held by the economic zone companies, which is nearly 50 percent up from the previous year.

Cayman’s economy hits highest growth for seven years

The Economics and Statistics office announced a 2.1 percent growth in Caymans estimated Gross Domestic Product during 2014, the highest since 2007.

It has been the second consecutive year that the central government has recorded overall fiscal surplus which has amounted to CI$93.2 million attributed to improved revenue collection.

The strong fiscal position the government has found itself in has enabled them to reduce its outstanding debt by $25.9 million to $534.0 million at the end of 2014.

It was also noted that the average income in the Cayman Islands raised from CI$47,170 in 2013 to CI$48,095 in 2014, an increase of just under 2 percent.

The increase of tourism arrivals from both air and sea is believed to have had a strong impact on the Gross Domestic Product with growth in areas such as hotels and restaurants, transport, storage and communications, wholesale and retail trade. Air arrivals in 2014 were up 10.8 percent on the previous year and Cruise ship arrivals up a massive 17 percent on 2013. (more…)

United Airlines Announce New Flights to Grand Cayman

Flights to Grand Cayman

United Airlines will expand their winter seasonal services from Chicago and Washington D.C. and announce new flights to Grand Cayman.

The new non-stop flights are scheduled to begin on 19 December and fly to Owen Roberts International Airport (GCM), Grand Cayman. The new Chicago flight will depart from O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Chicago, on Saturdays and continue until the 30 April 2016.

The Washington D.C. flights will fly four times a week from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and will continue until 4 May, 2016. The service flights are on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

The winter is Caymans busy season, when the rainy season is over and temperatures are in the lower 20s °C. It’s a great time for people to escape the cold and freezing temperatures of where they come from. The added United Airlines flights will make Cayman more accessible for consumers during their high-travel periods.

The flights are great news for people who migrate to the warmer climate for the winter, giving them more options and availability to fly to their Cayman properties, or for those wanting to get away for a warm winter break.

Cayman resorts are set to be labeled as a member of the Trip Advisor Hall of Fame

The travel website has announced that it will recognise recipients that have consistently received positive ratings and have earned Certificates of Excellence over a five year period.

This year dive resorts Sunset House, Compass Point and Southern Cross Club will be all named in Trip Advisors Hall of Fame. (more…)

Cayfilm set to start this Thursday, 18th of June.

Last week Cayfilm announced the final pieces of the film festival. Most notably is the Thursday night event at Camana Bay which opens the festival with the Caribbean Premiere of ‘Serena’, a drama starring ‘Hunger Games’ Academy Award® winner Jennifer Lawrence and ‘Limitless’ Academy Award® nominee Bradley Cooper.

The film is set in the North Carolina Mountains during the late 1920’s and features Serena, played by Lawrence, and her husband George, played by Cooper, as two newly-weds who go on to build a timber empire. (more…)