Air arrivals increase another 5.5%

| 04/03/2019 | 28 Comments

Cayman Airways 737 Max 8 jet

(CNS): The story of overnight visitors closed anther successful chapter in January with numbers continuing to grow. The Department of Tourism said that air arrivals grew in the first month of the year by more than 5.5%, with more than 41,000 people coming to stay in the Cayman Islands. The increase led to the best January on record and comes on the back of a record-breaking 2018, setting the tone for 2019 and what the sector hopes will be another one for the record books. Cruise visitor numbers also grew to record-breaking levels.

More than 271,000 passengers called on George Town on 95 ships, an increase of over 24% and the largest number of passengers to call here in one month since records began — all without any berthing facilities, another signal that calls into question the costly, controversial project to provide cruise docking facilities.

With carnival season approaching and the new Cayman Airways Denver route taking off this month, the department is expecting air arrivals to continue the record growth, as the country prepares for the opening of the newly expanded Owen Roberts International Airport by Prince Charles later this month.

“January’s fantastic performance is an affirmation of the Ministry and Department of Tourism’s commitment to increasing airlift into the destination,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell. “With a facility triple the size of the old building, travellers through Owen Roberts International Airport can look forward to a smoother more streamlined experience. We are committed to ensuring this experience is standard for both our air and cruise passengers.”

The boost in visitor numbers was largely from the United States, which increased by almost 8%, with growth coming from New York, as both Cayman Airways and JetBlue increased capacity from the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Delta Airlines helped fuel an increase of more than 15% in guests from the Southeast. Visitors from Canada also grew to record-breaking levels in January, with an increase of more than 5%.

As Cayman Airways launched its new Denver route at the weekend, Tourism Director Rosa Harris said her team was excited about bringing Caymankind to the West Coast.

“With increased flight capacity just in time for the spring and summer travel season, we expect visitation from the West Coast to increase, complementing the steady progress of all our core source markets in January,” she added.

For more information on arrival statistics visit the DoT website.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The other islands are coming back from the Hurricanes and so will all this tourism, but enjoy the self-delusion while you can, its not like too much sun has affected at all thinking on our island.

    • Anonymous says:

      The goal (realistically) is to poach about 30-35% of these “displaced tourists” because their usual destinations (BVI etc) were damaged due to past hurricanes. Many of whom have remarked to me personally “We didn’t know how nice things were here! The restaurants are better, the flight connections are better, the atmosphere is better and the Diving is far superior”. Undoubtedly some will return to their historical choice of holiday destination, (Much like what happened to us Post-Ivan), but many will also return to the Cayman Islands. Not delusional thinking….

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    • Anonymous says:

      This isn’t really a valid argument. For BVI and USVI – hurricane Irma was in early Sept 2017, and for Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria was in late Sept 2017. Last year one could argue the Cayman bump was partially because of this but this doesnt explain the yet further increase for Cayman this year.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The airport is already too small. We flew out on Saturday and there was not a seat to be had in the departure area. There is no separation of the gates, so the lines of departing passengers are a mess. The PA system is still the same unintelligible mess it has always been. I am already dreading flying back in next week.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If they would just hire more Caymans that need jobs then the problems would all be solved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, the good news for the future is that expanding the departures area wouldnt be overly expensive relative to the total airport renovation.

      Obviously the worst is the Saturday afternoon four hour logjam. I try to avoid this time period at all costs, but if I cant, at least I know I only have to endure it for less than an hour.

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      • Anonymous says:

        But it is stupid. Why did the airport planners not build a proper airport departure area with this current new build?

    • Anonymous says:

      The new airport is a disaster. All of the problems we had in the past were suppose to be solved with the new airport and new departure area. Saturday departures are hell. If we think we have problems now, just wait until we have a new Hilton and Hyatt next year. On top of that, just imagine how many more people we would have coming in and out with a new 50 storey skyscraper.

      We should have spent more money and have gone with the Canadian airport proposal 5 years ago. The new Bermuda airport opening next year should have been our modern model for the future. The Bermudans got it right.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the first time (we left the Cayman Islands on March 3, 2019), I could actually understand clearly all the PA announcements. That alone is a huge improvement. The departure lounge does not seem to have a lot of extra space, but hopefully there are some easy options to further expand down the road when needed.

      However, WIFI is clearly needed for departing guests to connect to. Come on FLOW! We need your help with this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The airport had no trollies for departing visitors at the drop off area. Typical scamming to force visitors to be ripped off by the porters. A good way to leave a bad impression for tourists.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UgKYPY-mavM

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to celebrate. Education,the Dump and public transportation are the 3 priorities. And no, building a school is not an improvement in education, neither is raising teacher’s salaries.
    How did it happen that your elected officials have neglected all three? How did it happen that they focus only on tourism that brings back less than 2$ for each dollar invested in?
    It is unfathomable that nothing, absolutely nothing was and is being done for the people of the Cayman islands. They don’t even care about improving visitors experience. The entire focus on destroying and building more, bigger and now taller.
    It won’t take long before headlines would report decline in air arrivals.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I cannot wait until Mo$e$ facilitates the development of a real nice big cruise dock for Cayman Brac – surely our economy will outdo our beloved brethren from up North (a shout out to President DJT’s policies). The signs are already here as the Old Kirk Freeport Building is being worked on as we speak and the building across the road from the Admin Building, very few people probably have any sort of idea what this is actually being used for and who is paying for it (sorry CNS, but this is something that CaymanMarlRoad could easily publish, if they wanted).

    Once we can get the 3 proposed marinas, dredge out the pond next to the defunct hotel and adjust our airlift capacity to reopen the resort that has been closed down for years, well then we can look forward to an uptick in our economy. We can then welcome more minimum wage workers from southeast asia and the handful of so-called contractors who underbid jobs can look forward to getting more and more of them.

    Cruise tourism on the Brac – if it was a thing to make money on, then certain affluent and influential persons would already be doing it. As one blogger called them “the Hometown Mafia” pretty much controls what happens on Cayman Brac – and hopefully they will just continue to create more government jobs, hire more interns, build more government buildings, designate more assigned parking spaces and keep the status quo.

    Go Mo$e$, you the man, thanks for all you do for our community.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So true 5:48AM – you sound like one of the very few people that is not blinded by the false economy on Cayman Brac – but you do sound very sarcastic. Fact is that your “Mo$e$” benefits from a lot of things that Government does over there – he might be a champion for Cayman Brac, but equally sure he is a champion for his own wallet!

  7. Anonymous says:

    If Caymanians would use their common sense and cares about this little 2x 4 Rock there is so much tomfoolery going on to take those stubborn imbeciles out of office for good when 2121 rolls around. They have lost their minds for sure.

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  8. SMH says:

    Further evidence based on statistics from the Department of Tourism that the proposed cruise dock is not necessary. Does the Minister and Government understand that nothing they say justifies the project in fact it proves the complete opposite to their PR strategy and proves it to be an unnecessary expense at this time? SMH

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. At its current size, the Cayman cruise tourism is about right, maybe even 10% too high. Shoehorning in another couple thousands cruisers in each day diminishes the experience both for the cruisers and residents.

      Keep it as is, use the tenders and forget the port. Focus on air passengers.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well ,well ,and cruise arrivals on the rise too ,just go to show you that they are not being honest to us the people . To hell with dock ,go finish john gray Alden, put back the middle school and use the cifec bldg for trade school .disgusting to see the size of some of the little ones there among those bigger kids at john gray . And they are taken advantage of. For God sake do something that’s ri

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear. More square footage does not make the airport better or more efficient. Only bigger. Is the Minister suggesting that because it has three times the square footage, it has three times the capacity? So far that is not the impression the traveling public is getting. It already seems at or past capacity. Time to get building on a new airport – next door to the existing one?

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    • Anonymous says:

      If only they had built next door we could have continued to use the existing one and built at new one for much less than building around a functioning airport would cost. Such waste. It as if they are spending someone else’s money.

      Oh wait, …they are!

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  11. Anonymous says:

    I know the education system is bad in Cayman but can someone teach the Ministry Of Tourism that Denver, Colorado is NOT/NOT on the West Coast. Knowing basic geography should be a requirement to work in the Ministry Of Tourism.

    Furthermore, because of the timing of the Cayman Airlines Denver flights they do not link up with cities on the real west coast such as Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Broncos play in the AFC West, the Nuggets play in the Western Conference and the Rockies play in the NL West. So Denver is West enough for me.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Too bad you are too stupid to not know the difference between the West Coast and the West. Suggest you take a geography course and spend less time watching the NFL & NBA.

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    • Anonymous says:

      CAL departs Denver at 2:30 MT to Grand Cayman, how far West are you coming from that you can’t connect? You would return to Denver just after 1:00 pm again easy connections to the US and Canadian west coast.

  12. Anonymous says:

    All the more reason to ditch the cruise dock idiocy and focus on stay over visitors. Right not hotel room are costing a fortune, $900 plus for the upper end hotels. Look at the cruise ship cattle buying a few tacky items, at best, before the gorge themselves on free food back on board. And work out who is spending the more money on island. And then think will the $500m cost of the dock be worth it?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Lower your hotel prices- Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn are Not $300. a room hotels. The Ritz and Kimpton are not $8,000. Lets get serious and stop price gouging- those hurricane islands are being fixed up and coming back online.

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