Visitor numbers still breaking records

| 22/03/2018 | 48 Comments
Cayman Islands tourism

The Cayman Islands’ Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS): The continued growth and record-breaking figures for the Cayman Islands tourism industry showed no sign of dropping off in the statistics for arrivals in February released by the Department of Tourism. The month saw 40,020 visitors fly into Cayman, an increase of over 12.5% on the 2017 number, making it the best February in history. It was also the ninth consecutive month where air arrivals surpassed all previously recorded statistics. In the first two months of this year, Cayman has already welcomed 79,205 visitors, a near 18% increase on last year, which was a record-breaking 12 months but could now be eclipsed by 2018.

There were also record-breaking numbers at the port, where numbers were the best February in recorded history with 220,603 passengers.

“With additional airline seats and new hotels rooms available in the Cayman Islands, I am pleased that the momentum from 2017 has continued into 2018,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell. “Having just completed a tour to engage the wider community, we have received excellent feedback for inclusion in the National Tourism Plan, which seeks to provide a blueprint for our industry’s success in the years to come.”

Tourism officials said that the statistics reflect the continued growth in visitors from core markets within the United States and Canada. There was an additional 1,742 visitors from the northeast region, a 15.35% increase year over year, making it the top performing region of 2018.

The southeast and southwest regions recorded almost 12.5% growth and tourism from the west coast of the United States grew by over 16%. Canada also boosted the numbers with a more modest 6.3% increase in visitors compared to this time last year.

“February’s phenomenal performance comes as the Department of Tourism returned to national
television in 2018 highlighting the multitude of experiences our Cayman Islands has to offer,” said Tourism Director Rosa Harris, who has been at the helm of the DoT during this time of phenomenal growth. Looking forward to continuing the success through the summer, she pointed to a number of new promotions that the department hopes will fuel the momentum.

The ongoing growth in overnight tourism remains one of the reasons many stakeholders in the sector remain concerned about government’s cruise berthing plans, as they fear the impact of that will undermine the overnight guest experience, which generates income for hotels, car rental, restaurants and other businesses outside the George Town area.

Nevertheless, despite the shrinking accessible beach space for cruise visitors and the already heavily impacted water attractions like Stingray City, government appears determined to press on with the controversial project. Earlier this month the minister confirmed that China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) was one of nine companies that have been pre-qualified to bid on the project once the tendering process is finalised.

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Comments (48)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So as not to seem in league with CITA’s continuously spewing this BS propaganda CNS would be wise to add ‘allegedly’ before headlines such as this.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It worries me greatly that we have such delusional people running our show. Flight and hotel rebookings after the Eastern Caribbean were declared disaster zones occurred months before any 2018 DOT TV campaigns. How much bogus correlation, and shameless self-congratulation are we willing to consume while disacknowledging reality?

  3. Anonymous says:

    ….and the tourism industry has still not caught up with implementing a proper recycling program, Cayman’s “mountain” continues to grow and can be smelled all along 7mile beach and many other areas. Garbage continues to be stacked up in front of homes and litter all along the roads and beaches……….

    The record numbers won’t last. Once the other Caribbean Islands are back to normal, so will be Cayman………

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, despite all the declarations, treaties and such, currently only 2% of the world’s plastic is actually recycled.

      Do the research.

      Nevertheless, Cayman really needs to up its game in this regard.

      – Who

  4. West bay Premier says:

    The arrival percentage all looks good , and is good . I didn’t see any $ figures or anything else that could’ve been the reasons for this increase . And we are talking also about the Islands high season /winter season and other factors, like other warm and sunny Islands, not being fully operational . Of course people wants a warm place to go on vacation this time of year .
    I wonder how much of the increase were repeats ? Years gone by about 60% of the tourist were repeats year after year . That kind of clientele you don’t have to spend your advertising dollars on .
    I would like to know if DOT is learning any thing about why these great numbers are choosing CI over other destin .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps a voter from the pubic should FOI the CHEC MOU from June 2011 so we can read it. We shouldn’t we be allowed to read that document?

    “From the Gleaner: Friday July 8, 2011, 12:00 AM

    China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has reached an agreement with the Cayman government for the construction of two cruise ship piers and repairs to a jetty and landing facility to accommodate mega-cruise liners calling at Grand Cayman.

    The agreement was signed by Cayman Islands premier McKeeva Bush and CHEC regional director Zhongdong Tang in late June, CHEC said in a statement.

    The value of the projects was not disclosed.

    The Cayman Islands project is the second large-scale undertaking in the Caribbean for CHEC, which said it has expertise in engineering as well as project management and was willing to invest financially in the region.

    According to the memorandum of understanding signed for the Cayman Islands projects, CHEC will design, build, operate and transfer the piers and facilities in the capital, Georgetown, and one near a turtle farm at West Bay, as well as upgrade an existing jetty and landing facility.

    The engineering firm established its regional headquarters in Kingston in April 2010 after being appointed general contractor for the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme, a five-year road work project funded by the China EXIM Bank.

    CHEC has also been granted the contract for the Palisadoes shoreline protection and rehabilitation project, which involves the construction of a sea revetment and lifting the stretch of road that runs between the Caribbean Sea and Kingston Harbour. The US$65.4-million project is also 85 per cent financed by China ExIm Bank.

    Palisadoes is the only land-based access to the Norman Manley International Airport.”

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m in the tourist industry, directly benefiting from the increased tourism this season. I appreciate the increased business, however, unlike Mr. Kirkconnell and the Ministry and Department of Tourism, I do not credit the increased number of airline flights and/or hotel rooms nor, specifically, the work of the said “powers-that-be” for the increased numbers. I recognize that we’re benefiting from the misfortune of the Easter Caribbean islands which suffered hurricanes last season, similar to our own situation in 2004.

    To falsely claim that this is solely based on ‘better work’ or ‘improved marketing’ by our local tourism agencies is misleading and to ‘rejoice’ as a result of the misfortune of others is distasteful.

    • Anonymous says:

      Prices are inflated! Just looked for April school vacation week. Airfare was $1,500. Just airfare. 6 nights. Same exact flight 3 weeks later was $416. Ridiculous, Cayman! Jamaica for 6 nights airfare was $762. Same April vacation.Bahamas for 6 nights was 82?. A beach is a beach. Florida is $574.

    • Tourism in the blood says:

      You are in the tourism business but clearly do not understand nor appreciate the effort. Do you think airlines wake up one day and say lets fly to Grand Cayman. The CI Gov was in talks with SouthWest for over a year before they came. Southwest is going to add another daily schedule from another destinatiom (Texas) this summer along with jet blue adding another destination namely Fort Lauderdale. Are these too because of the hurricane? I too am in the tourism business and is very much appreciate the effort of the Ci gpvernment. I am focusing on doing my part to ensure my customers received great service please do the same and stop complaining about positive stuff.

  7. Anonymous says:

    More proof that we don’t need the dock. It is greed that makes them want to get it built.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s the tendering subsidy that is blamed for sinking the Port’s balance sheet. That’s why it’s framed as a “Port” development, not necessarily cruise passengers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The people who take credit for things that don’t have anything to do with their own efforts, are nothing more than thieves.

    What’s happening here is a false positive.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow … some real whiney nay-sayers in the room.

    Maybe it is also because tourists are now too scared to travel to Paris, London, Nice, New York, Orlando, Las Vegas, Berlin, and Barcelona because, while there, people are being mowed down by lorries hacked to pieces by swords, blown to smithereens with C4, and shot up with AR-15’s and AK-47’s??

    Why risk the kids lives in those modern concrete jungles when the family can have a safe, civilised, and enjoyable trip to the Cayman Islands?

    Moreover, who is to say that Cayman isn’t simply flying up the popularity ranks?
    I manage a few properties and we are yet to have a dissatisfied visitor. In fact, our return visitor rate is very impressive.

    Whatever the case, we are doing very well, and with the advent of platforms like AirBnb, more Caymanians are enjoying a piece of the tourism pie – much to the discontent of the sour pickles in the room.

    – Who

    *Yes, safety is a major concern for many families today and plays a big role in the decision process – especially for the Americans.
    (So spare me the outraged replies.)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, we know. The traffic has been horrible.

    It’s so much congestion on the roads all the time….for people who live on this island, it’s hard just trying to get lunch during a work day. God forbid you want to run an errand on your lunch hour. Forget that!

    CIG need to implement legislation whereby you can only have a certain amount of vehicles per household/condo etc. Too many cars here, and the public transport system is piss poor.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have three vehicles…but I find it hard to drive more than one at the same time…why can’t I own more than one?

  11. Anonymous says:

    PPM trying to ride the hurricane. lol

  12. Anonymous says:

    Let us be thankful for small mercies. Why the downfall of Cayman will help any of you is beyond me. It appears as if some of you are waiting with bated breath for the demise of anything Cayman. If you are on island it will effect you as well, if you are off- island it is really none of your business. It is amazing and distressing how many people are so miserable in their own skin.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not about waiting with no bated breath. WE ARE JUST SICK OF BEING LIED TO. They are trying to justify their massive unstoppable spending, by saying, “Look it’s working…” but is not because of the money they so happily spend, to which in reality, only serves to drive the cost of living in Cayman through the roof. There are other regional factors that were involved, that caused the tourism numbers to go up. Open your eyes.

      By the way, how the schools and education coming?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Moses is the ultimate B$ artist!

  14. Anonymous says:

    More evidence that Cayman does not need a cruise berthing dock

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank God they are no longer subjected to that ugly A-Frame upon arrival.

  16. Cor Blimey! says:

    Why is it that both the the Minister and Ms Harris always claim credit for their efforts when touting arrivals figures but fail to mention the real reason – the hurricane damage in other Caribbean destinations. As for our return to U.S. national TV marketing why did it take so long considering our monumental tourism budget, and the fact our major competitors have been doing it for years.

  17. Anonymous says:

    nothing to do with ppm or moses…this all due to economic prosperity in the states and the storm damaged tourist destinations in the caribbean…

    • Anonymous says:

      10:21 All of which means it’s temporary.

      What’s curious is the way we’re not picking up any business from all the security issues hitting the UK and European tourism industry. When our arrival figures from across the Atlantic should be rising they’re actually falling. If you dig a bit deeper into this you find that a lot of other destinations in this region are having good increases and seeing more flights scheduled to meet demand. Any comment on that Moses?

      While you’re at it check this out –

      Only making sixth place in a poll topped by Jamaica isn’t exactly what I call good news.


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