(CMR) Chukka Caribbean Adventures, Jamaica’s largest tour operators, is said to be looking to expand into the Cayman Islands market and is purchasing Red Sail Sports. Exclusive CMR sources indicate that a local law firm is preparing the application to be submitted to the relevant government board for January 10.
The tour operator is said to be looking to expand its current operations to Cayman, the Dominican Republic and Barbados by looking to raise funds for the expansion. According to them they eventually wish to have a conglomerate in the Caribbean across 10-15 countries and are focusing their initial expansion into those three.
Some weeks ago, CMR was contacted by tour operators who claimed that they had insider information that “Jamaica’s largest tour operator” was looking to acquire locally owned Red Sail Sports and were applying for a Local Companies Control License (LCCL). An LCCL would mean that no local ownership is required for the entity to operate.
Local operators are concerned about how this will impact the smaller local operators who are already feeling the pinch of an existingly overcrowded market. One shared that:
”this is not an arrangement that will help locals in anyway. The money made by foreign entities don’t often stay in the economy. They have massive operations and money will be sent overseas. Caymanian are already struggling and this will only make the situation worse.”
Some Cayman hotels are now choosing to do business with an exclusive list of tour operators; already shutting out the smaller companies. This recent move was just announced a few weeks ago.
Jamaican media sources have confirmed that a Cayman deal to “acquire a going concern is expected to involve mainly catamaran boat rides.”
Chukka claims that it will leverage it’s existing relationship with cruise lines to help drive tourist traffic to the new locations claiming to have “a pretty good marketing machinery” in place.
This latest expansion would almost double it’s revenues for a company that boast 85 tour packages at 15 location including Jamaica and Turks and Caicos. In Jamaica, they are in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and Falmouth. The company is majority owned by Melvilles with PanJam Investment and Michael Lee Chin has lesser shareholders.