Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Crystal Clear Caymans Where You Pay No Tax; Claim Your Piece of Paradise in the Super-Safe Cayman Islands from Less Than PS163,000, Says Cathy Hawker

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Crystal Clear Caymans Where You Pay No Tax; Claim Your Piece of Paradise in the Super-Safe Cayman Islands from Less Than PS163,000, Says Cathy Hawker

Article excerpt

Byline: Cathy Hawker

THE Cayman Islands share much of the eye-popping beauty of any Caribbean island with sandy beaches, crystalline blue seas and world-class diving. However, Grand Cayman is one of the safest, wealthiest, most tax-friendly places in the world, and it is these "extras" that make it of particular interest to many.

For a UK overseas territory -- one of 14 along with Gibraltar and Bermuda -- the Cayman Islands, made up of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, don't seem very British. Yes, you see a picture of the Queen in the arrivals hall at Grand Cayman airport after the 10-hour direct flight from London, but Miami is only an hour away and 80 per cent of visitors are from the US.

BANKING GIANT Grand Cayman is by far the most developed of the three Cayman islands, but at about 22 miles long by an average four miles wide, it is hardly a giant. It is a colossus, however, in the financial world. Cayman is the sixth largest international banking centre with a top-grade AAA credit rating, on a par with London and Switzerland.

"Cayman is little-known globally, but we want to get our brand out there so the world knows we are a world-class financial destination," says the Hon Moses Kirkconnell, deputy premier and tourism minister of the islands. "Tourism and finance are our two drivers. Tourism is set to grow 12 per cent this year, substantially above the regional average of five per cent."

Infrastructure is key to this plan and the Caymans have excellent roads, several international schools and modern hospitals. A larger airport is being built and Camana Bay, a new town with 600 acres of thoughtfully designed boutique shops, apartments, offices and openair restaurants, has transformed life for residents. "For lifestyle, Cayman is hard to beat," says James Burdess of estate agent Savills. …

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