Another Bermuda company has set up shop in the Cayman Islands - offering further proof of our southern neighbour's formidable economic pull.

Contemporary Market Solutions (CMS) has expanded its local sales and marketing agreement with Hertz International to the Cayman Islands.

CMS is the Bermuda-based sales and marketing arm of the C Holdings Group, which also includes C Travel and

Tom Murray, CMS representative, said: "This is just a natural progression of expansion for us because we're limited here in Bermuda. In order to grow our company further, we have to diversify. When I was hired by Carl (Paiva - chief executive officer for C Holdings Group), a few years ago, one of the reasons was to broaden the business ventures because the travel agency business is in a period of change with the advent of Internet technology.

"One of the goals was to diversify the business and one of the ways that we did that was by creating Contemporary Market Solutions to be a representative and marketing arm for the travel agency business in Bermuda.

"CMS presence in Cayman is part of a diversification strategy we embarked on a few years ago that would allow us to stay competitive and continue to grow in an industry that has been in a constant evolving state of change. This opportunity will allow our company to grow beyond the shores of Bermuda to develop new initiatives."

He said companies like Hertz and Royal Caribbean International - another company that CMS represents - need a set of 'eyes and ears' on the ground in places like Bermuda.

"They give us a marketing budget and we do fulfilment services for them and it saves them an expense of having to hire a sales person for this territory," Mr, Murray said.

Just like home

He said part of the reason that the Cayman Islands was chosen as the first place for the company to expand was "the similarities between them and Bermuda. They are very much like us - their economy is fuelled by international business and tourism, they're English speaking. It was just a natural link for us to expand."

CMS had formed a partnership with KMB Consulting in Grand Cayman and the new company will start with one employee, Kim Ellis. "She's a former travel agent," Mr. Murray said. "She will spearhead the activities associated with the Hertz general agreement. That would involve training the local travel agents on new products and new services offered by Hertz."

He added that Ms. Ellis will also sign on corporate clients and be responsible for marketing and advertising. Mr. Murray added that once the Cayman office grows, CMS is looking to expand to other places.

"We would eventually like to move to some other islands, like Turks and Caicos, that have a similar make-up to Bermuda, but we would like to develop the Cayman relationship further.

"Right now we also represent Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises, the Intercontinental Hotels group as well as Fly First Class private jets. Those are all products we would like to see in Grand Cayman before we move on to another island."

Juan-Carlos Ballesteros, Hertz regional manager for the Caribbean, said in a press release: "This relationship will give our customers a higher level of customer care in the Cayman Islands. CMS is an ideal partner. They have highly experienced personnel with a strong track record of effective sales, management and representation in Bermuda. We look forward to seeing their success carry over into the Cayman market."