When TomCayman (of The Reef) and Steve (of Ocean Frontiers) originated the ‘Go East’ initiative, little did they know that their angle would be co-opted by the Ministry.
Extract of Article from Cayman Net News:
THE Ministry of Tourism’s “Go East” initiative, which intends to create more business opportunities in East End and North Side, is bearing fruit with the proposed construction of Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the eastern districts.
The Mandarin Oriental group, which has 23 luxury hotels, has earmarked a beachfront area along the Queen Elizabeth Highway in East End, Grand Cayman, for one of its seven new hotels.
Work on the five-star property is expected this year and completion is set for 2007. At start-up the international group hopes to construct 150 guestrooms.
Tourism Minister, Hon Charles Clifford, is thrilled at the news that the Cayman Islands has secured another leading hotel chain with businesses in 17 countries.
“We’re very happy to have a Mandarin Oriental coming to Cayman,” said Mr Clifford. “Now that we have the Ritz-Carlton we’re likely to see competition following competition.”
The Minister said the company had identified a local contractor and he expected work on the hotel to begin in the coming months, given the commitment to have it ready next year.
“I would expect that they would start construction this year because they indicated that they would be opening sometime in 2007, when they made the announcement several months ago,” he said.
The location of the new hotel also pleased the Minister who noted the traffic congestion on the Seven Mile Beach, the busiest strip of land on the Island.
“There is a substantial amount of development on the Seven Mile Beach already and until we get additional infrastructure in place in terms of roads, it will be difficult to accommodate additional properties,” he noted.
Mr Clifford added, “We’re particularly happy that they have chosen the eastern end of the Island to develop.”
According to the Government official, the eastern district would receive special attention to allow for tourism development there.
“The Ministry is going to do what it can to facilitate the development of that property in the Eastern District,” the Minister said.
He disclosed that his Ministry was keeping an eye on the project and would facilitate the developers.
Mr Clifford stopped short of saying what impetus or assistance Government would provide the Mandarin Oriental, which has over 8000 rooms in its hotels in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
“We will do what we can as we normally do to facilitate their investments and development,” he added.
He also disclosed that a representative of the Four Seasons hotel chain has expressed an interest in coming to the Cayman Islands to investigate the possibility of establishing a property here.
Of course it would not be honorable to seek ones own honor – so Tom and Steve don’t seem to mind that the Honorables themselves are exerting the Go East idea without mention of its humble beginnings; they’re just glad that other people are discovering the East End.
We look forward to our new neighbours at Mandarin Oriental and the additional restaurant and spa choices they will bring to the area.