Pirates Festival to Become 5 Day Event!

Cayman’s longest running and most popular national event  - the Pirates Week Festival has been restructured and re-vamped into one comprehensive and exciting 5-day weekend!

The decision came after much analysis, surveys and interaction with the community, the Tourism Attraction Board, Private Sector, and members of the Pirates Week Office and Committees.

One of the main reasons for this decision was to make the event more marketable to overseas visitors, and to target a new area of festival tourism, which is becoming increasingly popular among new-age travelers.

The move makes it particularly easier for hotels and airlines to come together and offer packages to overseas visitors for one weekend, rather than splitting promotions in two.

The private sector has long voiced the need to condense the festival into one weekend, making it more manageable and profitable for local businesses within the tourism sector.

We met with multiple overseas booking agents during the Cayman Islands Tourism Showcase in 2016, including Expedia, Costco Travel and American Airlines. Many agreed that a five-day weekend would be more appealing for them to package and sell, and could result in a higher number of overseas visitors attending the festival events.”– Shayma Hamdi-Romanica, Marketing Coordinator, Tourism Attraction Board.

With all the events being hosted in one weekend, patrons can now engage in the full experience of Pirates Week, and not have to choose between events being hosted on different weekends.

Most notably, the Pirates Week Office will save significantly on costs that were not yielding any direct benefit to the festival or its patrons.

The majority of the Heritage Days Committee Chairpersons agreed to a combined “District Day” in George Town for the 40th Anniversary celebrations and believe all districts will have equal opportunity to showcase their products to a greater number of patrons. It’s also a good opportunity for the districts to come together and celebrate their diversities as one.” - Patrick Thompson, Director, Tourism Attraction Board.

We evaluated the number of cruise passengers scheduled to arrive in George Town on this particular weekend, and unanimously agreed that the Heritage Days vendors and our sponsors would benefit greatly from the additional exposure. In total there will be over 21,400 passengers in George Town from November 9 to 13. The Heritage Day will be on Monday, November 13, which will see almost 5,000 passengers arrive in George Town by cruise.” – Melanie McField, General Manager, Pirates Week Office.

The Pirates Week Festival has always been aimed at boosting tourism and the local economy during slow season. This is exactly what we will be doing this year, with an even greater impact”.  - Melanie McField, General Manager, Pirates Week Office.

Having the Heritage Days combined in George Town for one weekend enables us to target a whole new market for the festival, and create a new avenue through which we can promote festival tourism.  Many cruise passengers return to Cayman by air, and we would hope that by allowing them to experience a small piece of Cayman culture all in one area, at one time, that they will be inspired to come back next year.” – Shayma Hamdi-Romanica, Marketing Coordinator, Tourism Attraction Board.

Most national festivals  - film, music, culture or other – run for an average of 2-3 days. The feasibility, logistics and manpower needed to run the Pirates Week Festival over ten days, across three islands, with a small budget, was becoming increasingly difficult, and was resulting in a watering-down in the quality of the events and local participation.” – Melanie McField, General Manager, Pirates Week Office.

The Tourism Attraction Board received almost 900 responses from the Pirates Week National Survey conducted in November 2016. The survey showed that; “what respondents liked least about the festival” was the “Heritage Days”.

“We are hopeful that moving these events into one location will increase both local and overseas participation, and will yield greater benefit for the vendors of the districts. The savings realised will allow for increased investment into the quality of the entertainment provided. – Patrick Thompson, Director, Tourism Attraction Board.

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