2012-06-19 Encouraging signs for hotels[+]
2012-05-16 Dallas flights to boost tourism [+]
2012-05-16 Cayman Islands market update [+]
Dallas flights to boost tourism
Dallas, Texas is the newest destination to be serviced by Cayman Airways as the city is actually the eighth highest source market for air arrivals. This, said Acting Director of Tourism Shomari Scott, will boost tourism.
“It has moved up steadily over the last four years – before that it was not even in the top-10. It was the only destination that did not have airlift.
“It took a while to realise the route and we are now looking to stimulate the market for which there is much latent demand,” he said.
Flights run from 23 June through to 2 September. Outgoing flights are on Saturdays at 3.30pm, arriving 7.30pm Dallas time. The return flights leave Dallas on Sundays at 9am and return to Cayman at 1pm local time. The launch fare is US$399 including taxes.
The Department of Tourism is busy working the market and will include details of Cayman’s Summer Splash promotion in its activities, which involves television, print and interactive advertising. The private sector is also working on promotions in conjunction with the tourism department.
Mr. Scott addressed delegates at the Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange and also noted that South America was a place with much untapped potential, albeit that it is a more medium-term strategy. He said that some islands, such as Curacao, had been serving that market since the early 1980s with charter and then scheduled services. Mr. Scott conceded that there was work to be done in the perception of the Cayman Islands because some destinations still flagged up the movie The Firm and financial services when asked.
Strategy and results
In general, the tourism boss said, Cayman’s task had been to translate strategy into results. He said that 2011’s total visitors of 309,000 was a 7 per cent increase over 2010 and that in order to stimulate demand a number of initiatives had been developed.
“Usually we have two promotions per year but we increased that to eight, increasing the value adds to get the best opportunities ... we asked how we could fill the shoulder weeks and months and sports tourism [was one way].”
He said things such as the beach volleyball qualifiers stimulated incremental visitors because of the friends and family travelling with the participants. An event such as the Cayman Islands Marathon also attracted runners and their spouses.
“This also helps with brand awareness through broadcast, but also when the athletes tweet about where they are,” Mr. Scott said.
He said social media was an important part of strategy and that the figures had shown increased response and engagement online. Indeed, Facebook fans of the destination increased from 4,686 in April 2011 to 20,591 by April, 2012. Twitter followers increased from 2,400 to 4,500 during the same period and Youtube views leapt from 14,000 in Septermber 2011 to 71,000 in April, 2012.
Finally, he noted that air arrivals for January to March, 2012 was up by 2.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2011. This represented the best year to date in 11 years and March this year was the best result in a decade.