August sees 31% increase in cruise numbers

| 04/10/2018 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cruise ship in George Town

(CNS): As the debate rages on over the government’s claim that the Cayman Islands must have a dock if it is to preserve its cruise tourism sector, statistics from the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands this August show a 31% increase on passenger numbers compared to 2017, with 37 ships calling on George Town, which is eleven more than August 2017. Although September figures are not yet available, by the end of August more than 1.32 million cruise passengers had visited Cayman in 2018, a 22.5% increase on last year.

Meanwhile, the success story of overnight tourism added another chapter with a record-breaking August, which had the highest number of guests since 2000.

The Department of Tourism has recorded that almost 34,000 people flew into Cayman during August, the most for that month on record and a 8.2% increase on arrivals for August 2017.

Overall visitor numbers for the overnight sector are continuing to grow, with a total of 333,975 overnight guests visiting the Cayman Islands so far this year by the end of August. With the figures for last month still outstanding and then another three months to go before the year-end, the statistics look set to exceed last year’s total of 418,403 visitors, which was the first time in Cayman’s history that stay-over tourism exceeded 400,000.

Even if the number of guests for the rest over the year remain on a par with those recorded in 2017, Cayman is likely to see more than 450,000 overnight visitors this year.

The Department of Tourism has had considerable success in increasing the number of overnight guests, who contribute far more to the local economy and across a much wider range of businesses and services than cruise visitors, spreading out the tourism pie. However, there are fears that the congestion caused by the growth in cruise numbers will undermine the quality of experience for the far more lucrative overnight visitor.

Add a cruise pier into the mix and Cayman could end up growing cruise tourism to unmanageable numbers without a massive increase in revenue, while dramatically cutting the headcount of overnight guests and losing the greater economic benefit that stay-over guests provide to the wider economy.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is great news…If your last name is Kirkconnell or Hamaty. For the rest of us these numbers mean doom to the Capitol, the environment and the economy.

    • Please state the fact and not your opinion CNS says:

      CNS will probably not publish this because …

      CNS: I have a strict rule that I delete any comment that begins, “CNS will probably not publish this…”. It’s a variance of #9 of our comment policy (see link at the top of the page). Otherwise it was absolutely fine.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CNS for balance it might be worth mentioning in the article that some of this increase (both cruise and stay-over) is due to the hurricane damage in the NE Caribbean last year. As that fades we’re likely to see our numbers reduce as tourists redistribute to those islands again.

    This has happened before. Cancun got knocked out by a hurricane. Cruises redirected to Cayman. there was a tourism boom. Businesses opened on the assumption these were ‘new normal’ numbers. When the numbers reduced again their business model no longer worked and Senor Frog had to hop back over to Cozumel.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Build the dam dock and it will increase by double! More passengers equals a better economy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dam dock? Doesn’t that stop the docks from pouring out into the harbour? You’re as smart as a toothpick.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stay over tourists spend more and thus we should focus on them and not the garbage gobblers that get off most cruises. Spend money revitalizing George Town so people actually want to go there. Build a free parking lot so it’s easy for our tourists and us to enjoy. You do that and better businesses will follow because they see that the shops aren’t empty all the time after 3.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Many years ago I used to regularly drink in the Seaview with a bunch of ex-pats who all worked in the GT shops. At the time the Compass was pumping out a message about cruise ships that boiled down to, ‘If some is good, more is better and too much is just enough.’ The people I was drinking with had a simple response to this. In their experience one or two cruise ships in port was always a good day. When it got into three to five things started to tail off and once you went over that you could forget it because the crowds just shuffled past without going in. Bear in mind that was 20 years ago when the cruise ships were smaller and just imagine what it will be like if the mega-liners start dumping 5000 visitors at a time in GT. Allowing for the fact that the shopping facilities have improved a bit over the years the fact is that GT isn’t any bigger than it was when these discussions took place so how the heck are CIG planning to cater for the crowds the dock will generate? Unless the plan includes demolishing most of central GT (not a bad idea IMHO) and building a huge cruise terminal/shopping mall this is all starting to sound like the old saying about you not being able to put a quart in a pint pot.

  5. CAYMANGIRL says:

    And this is WITHOUT MEGASHIPS! As long as we don’t get any major hurricanes here, people will continue to come and property values will continue to increase. We better thank God that pray that this will continue. I rest my case against the megaships.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Make the most of it while it lasts!

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      CNS , the last paragraph add a new twist to this pier project . If the pier is built the cruisers numbers would go to unmanageable numbers . Who would want that to happen to little Island the size of Cayman ? What would those unmanageable numbers of people do for the economy and the stay over tourism industry ?
      I think that it could destroy everything including everyones life .

      As I am seeing it , Mr Minister Kirkconnell is doing an excellent job on the stay over Tourism and that’s where he should stay focused on , and get out of that cruise ship bed he’s in and be satisfied with the cruise ships business that we have at present ., and remember that the Cruise Lines need Cayman Islands more than the CI need the cruise ships and they will always come as long as you have a unique destinations to offer them . But Cayman or the people don’t have to bend over for them .

      • What? says:

        Cruise needs Cayman island more the CI needs cruise? I hope you are not a Caymanian it is sooòoo embrassessing.

  7. say it like it is says:

    If the piers wll be as successful as Govt claim we will end up with 4 or 5 million cruise sheep a year. What is Govt going to do with these penny pinching, overfed, swarming everywhere, flocks?.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This really makes news ! after the eastern Caribbean was devastated by two major hurricanes this was expected for cruise and stay over tourism

  9. Anonymous says:

    Whoopey. Perhaps we can put some signs up to deter them from traipsing up to the beach?
    It is shocking. I am lost for words. Our government does not give 2 shits.
    1500 will come ashore and without fail 100-200 will try and walk to the beach, every bloody day. Some of them are on mobility scooters and others dragging kids, some not more than 3 years old. Who monitors this for the government?
    They should be fired. Isn’t this in Moses Kirkconnell’s portfolio. Perhaps he should get off his ass and come and take a look when he has the time?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Good news on both fronts. However the last paragraph appears to be an opinion. How about verifying with the Port Authority why there were 11 more ships this August and if these ships are likely to visit in subsequent years? Maybe the “increase” is really an anomaly and next year the report will show a “drop” in cruise passengers.


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