Tourist arrivals chalk up more records

| 26/04/2019 | 51 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The Department of Tourism has revealed yet another overnight arrivals record after 59,563 guests visited Cayman last month. Not only does that figure represent an increase of 8.37% over March last year, it is also the single largest number of stay-over visitors in any month in recorded history. The entire first quarter of this year saw the highest number of stay-over visitors for any start of a year since records began. Over 145,80o guests flew into the destination between 1 January and 31 March, an increase of 8.67 % over the same period last year, which was already a record-breaking year for guests staying overnight.

“The Cayman Islands should be proud of its record-breaking stay-over performance in the first quarter of 2019,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell. “As a ministry and Department of Tourism, we are committed to developing innovative and authentic strategies for attracting travellers from key source markets. The recent launch of the USA focused Dream in Cayman campaign pushes the boundaries of destination advertising and I look forward to evaluating the results of the campaign in the months to come.”

Officials also said that the introduction of Cayman Airway’s new Denver route has directly influenced the growth bringing in new guests from the southwest region of the United States. Despite the challenges presented by the grounding of CAL’s two new 737 Max 8 aircraft, 683 visitors came from Denver International Airport to the Cayman Islands in March.


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The DoT also said that, based on preliminary estimates, visitor spend for the first quarter was CI$235 million, but that also included spend by cruise ship visitors, though the number of these was down around 30,000 passengers compared with the first quarter of last year.

According to other data. overnight visitors generally represent more than 80% of tourism spending locally, suggesting that the 145,000 overnight guests spent over $188 million, while just over 641,000 cruise visitors spent less than $50 million.

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Comments (51)

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  1. No One Ever says:

    Build our dock!

  2. Anonymous says:

    A very simple question that’s been asked before – ‘Are these really stayover visitors or US citizens using Grand Cayman as a backdoor route into Cuba to get round Trump’s travel restrictions?’

    A friend of mine owns a well-established watersports business and he’s not experiencing any pick up from this. He’s doing well but not any different from a year or two years ago – there’s no sign of a boom.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well Trump hasn’t actually changed the rules yet, and Obama relaxed them and allowed direct flights so any comparison with pre Obama travel stats when Cayman Airways has a lot of transit traffic would actually go the other way. But the stay over stats are curious. According to the numbers that’s an average on island spend of $1300. That’s not a lot when you consider the current costs of hotel rooms let alone restaurants, drinks, food, and the fact we don’t really cater to budget travellers. Something doesn’t add up.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stay over visitors are the way to go. We need more flights from the Caribbean and open up to cheap fruits and vegetables ,beef and sea food. Try and bring in more bands like Kaboo from the Caribbean. Have musical events from the Caribbean every week. Bring in more school age children like Carifta for more interaction in sports. We could have more football competition with islands or Central American high schools every weekend. We could have these kinds of events and maybe sponsor countries like Cuba. The price at restaurants would definitely go down for food and drink. Everything to do with stay over visitors would drop our cost of living. We all eat and drink the same foods and drinks. Its a win-win for the Caymanian people. Straight flights from Trinidad right up through Puerto Rico should solve the Eastern Caribbean. Then direct flights from Mexico through Columbia would be cheaper than Denver.
    If we need to get rid of too many vehicles on island lets restrict the rental carpool. Let’s also start carpooling from Gov’t offices coming from the same districts to town.

  4. Anonymous says:

    why do people never give credit to expats for all of their friends and family coming to visit them?

  5. Ron Ebanks says:

    Anonymous 7:30am , yes I would say the statics on the Tourist that are returning should be important to also know, , it would tell you about the product you’re selling and where you need to improve / spend your advertising dollars .

  6. Anonymous says:

    Time to cut the free tickets on CAL handed out to all the hangers on then.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the figures quoted in this article are correct, no need for a new cruise ship facility. Case closed.

  8. Ron Ebanks says:

    Anonymous 1:15pm .
    I hear what you said , and I have heard similar words like that in my 25 years of working CI Tourism , but didn’t hear them say that they were going some place else , because in my days we Caymanians that worked in the Tourism gave them Hospitality that was not available nowhere else but the Cayman Islands .
    But today I am hearing that that Hospitality is replaced by GREED.

    I think that the Government needs to realize the size of the Island before they try putting more people on the Island , the main concern of the people on the private jet was over crowding by the Cruise passengers . The kind of that fly in on private jets are the kind of visitors you want to leave happy , not Cruise ship people .

  9. Anonymous says:

    More, more, more! That’s all our tourism official are concerned with, volume not quality!

    I just dropped some guests back to the airport to their private jet. This was their first visit to Cayman and they stayed at the Kimpton for a week. Clearly not budget tourists! They have been going to Providenciales in Turks & Caicos for years and decided to try Cayman. They just told me that even though they enjoyed their visit, they may come back but will continue to visit Provo. Why? Cayman was too crowded, especially with cruise ship tourists and felt too “Americanized” (they were Americans)! They also mentioned that they were disappointed that they didn’t meet more locals at their hotels and the restaurants they visited!

    This is not the first time I’ve heard these complaints. So why do our officials keep trying to cram more tourists here instead of keeping the ambiance that most come for – less crowds and more island flavour!

    Perhaps Moses, Rosa Harris and their tourism officials should speak to more visitors like those and be guided less by cruise line officials and “cram-them-in” strategies!!

    Hope they read this post, but they won’t!!

    • Ron Ebanks says:

      CNS can you please forward Anonymous 1:16pm comment to the DOT and Mr Moses Kirkconnell so that they can hear some true words from who work with the Tourist .

    • Anonymous says:

      Did they say anything about the Dump? Or they weren’t aware of it?

      What I like about Hawaii, even though it is over-commercialized, they promote greater presence of Hawaiian culture in the tourism industry. Hawaiian music and welcome videos the moment you get on a plane; lei greetings at the airport and hotels, Hawaiian music is everywhere, nightly torch lighting ceremony, free hula show at Waikiki Beach and mornings session at some hotels. And lots of welcome smiles. Polynesian Cultural Center with its the most spectacular evening show in the islands is phenomenal in my opinion

      Cayman has none of it. No cultural distinction. They don’t care when you arrive, and make sure to kick you in the butt on the way out.

    • Anonymous says:

      i don’t believe you….and the numbers prive you wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m with you all the way, Anonymous 1:16. Making another tourist trap isn’t the way to go!!!

    • Anonymous says: a rare local happily working in tourism, is is blatant how we are discouraged and marginalised. Friends and family are brought in for premium positions (and given choice assignments), while guests are still told the lie that we locals don’t like to work in tourism.
      It’s all about the grats yet mgt still tries to skim from the pool.
      Oh yeah – that $4.50 minimum wage is probably the biggest deterrent to locals and results in the preferred imported cheap labor; not the Caymanian experience.
      But what will ever be done to rectify these gross wrongs after we built the industry.
      From Scuba and Stingray City, to the taxis, kitchens and front desk were started and once led by locals. I guess since the owners are usually not local, it’s the profit margin which matters most – and most of that is also send back to their base overseas.
      Peace out!

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, for those “downers”, while I may not be as effusive as 7:37 pm, if we hold the Government accountable for failure then we should also give credit for success.

  12. Ron Ebanks says:

    Really great numbers of the Tourism stay over visitors , but are you getting your share ?
    Who are really benefiting from this great Tourism influx ?
    I know back in the past everyone got some of the pie .
    Is it the same way today ?

    • Anonymous says:

      No! At least not according to one of my friends who owns a well-established water sports company. He’s not seeing any benefits of this stayover ‘boom’.

  13. Anonymous says:

    More important is the number of returning tourists.
    What would that be ?

  14. Anonymous says:

    A non-US route such as Qatar would really open Cayman up to the world since Qatar is a hub for travel from the East.

    • Anonymous says:

      you don’t need more people, you need less.

    • Anonymous says:

      nonsense…. nothing stopping those folks from coming through miami…

      • Anonymous says:



        Do you understand what the “orange head fella” has done to persons coming to the US from the Muslim world?

        There is nothing such as “in transit” in Miami. Always need to be cleared by US Homeland Security.

        • Anonymous says:

          we can’t even fill a plane to go direct to london…why are you talking about the middle east?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Build a new airport and bypass in the East and forget about the stupid cruise dock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Demolish the current airport and subdivide up the land for high density housing and some commerce.

    • Anonymous says:

      No to new airport, no to the bypass, no to dock. Build overpasses in bottle necks and implement public bus transit system. Do tourism carrying capacity study.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is too much. This is overtourism. This is also part of why we are having so much traffic woes.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Al this are the result of our diligent Unity Team government led by our great premier!

    • Anonymous says:

      Correct – our leader has made us the strongest island in the Caribbean. Bless you all Unity Team!

    • Anonymous says:

      LOL. Only these idjits would really think the increase is due to something they did. This government is busy ruining the environment, overbuilding, and letting crime grow. Increase is despite their efforts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Catch a flight and leave our country since you dislike our leaders so much; we will not miss you at all! Silver wings are waiting

        • Anonymous says:

          How very mature of you.

        • Anonymous says:

          Why are you sucking up to your “leaders” so much? Did they promise you a new refrigerator?

          • Anonymous says:

            That is a typical comment from a foreigner who comes to our country and then gets upset because how they want our country to be run is not happening. Our leaders were democratically elected, if you are so hell bent on getting them out, vote in the next election, but beware that majority wins so if they are voted in to office again then you will still be upset. Better yet put yourself forward for election and once elected you can change the way things go. Until then I suggest you just stop with so many negative comments and perhaps consider going back where you came from since it is so much better than here in Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          Send our ‘leaders’ too. The yahoo in charge doesn’t give a shit about us

        • Say it like it is says:

          3.04pm Gosh, thanks for enlightening me, I never realized it was the expats that are always complaining about our politicians.

      • Anonymous says:

        So why the fuss if this is not the government’s doing?

        Stop blaming it!

        Geez shh!

    • Anonymous says:

      tell me one policy change they have made to increase the numbers….
      cayman lives or dies by the strength of the us economy…..hence why it is booming now

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, I’ll give them credit if they just don’t change something that was/is working. (good decisions include knowing when not to mess with something.)

        We can make a list of problems, including tourism management, to lay at the Government’s doorstep but we do have to recognize that at least tourist numbers have remained high.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 7:37, Are you a member of the government or a paid troll?

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