2012-06-19 Encouraging signs for hotels[+]
2012-05-16 Dallas flights to boost tourism [+]
2012-05-16 Cayman Islands market update [+]
Air arrivals to Grand Cayman continue to soar
The number of tourists arriving by air in the Cayman Islands has increased for an 11th straight month compared with the same period the previous year, as the current figures witnessed significant growth in the percentages of visitors from Canada and continental Europe.
Overall stay-over visitors for the month of July jumped 7.5 per cent from the same time last year as the number totalled 31,407 – an increase of 2,204 people from the previous mark of 29,203 in July 2010, according to statistics released Friday by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.
The figures represent the strongest July since Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004, as well as place Cayman on track to potentially welcome more than 300,000 air arrival visitors for the first time since 2008.
The United States – for which its own regional market percentage increase of 7.4 per cent year over year nearly mirrored the overall jump – continued to account for roughly four of every five visitors, or 25,854 passengers arriving by aircraft in the Cayman Islands.
But Canada and continental Europe led all regions in terms of percentage growth in the number of visitors travelling to the Cayman Islands. Though still relatively small collectively, Canada saw its contribution jump 72 per cent over the previous year to 1,239 this July. Continental Europe, which excludes the United Kingdom and Ireland, grew by more than 36 per cent to 625.
Meanwhile, regional reductions were experienced in July as the number of travellers coming to the Cayman Islands from the UK and Ireland, as well as northeastern states in the US, decreased.
But the last time the Cayman Islands experienced an overall drop in the number of air arrivals from the previous year was last August, when figures fell less than 1 per cent to a little more than 19,000.
In 2008, the year for which the most recent figures are provided, stay-over visitors spent roughly CI$162 apiece per day and accounted for CI$315 million in total estimated annual expenditures, according to the Department of Tourism.
“The growth in arrival figures, particularly during these tough economic times, is extremely gratifying and highlights that the proactive steps that have been taken – such as working closely with industry partners, realigning (Cayman Airways) and introducing new routes to boost capacity – are paying dividends,” said Shomari Scott, acting director of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “As we move into the fall season a series of new promotions – including the Visiting Friends and Relatives, Dive Madness and Pirates Week deal – will be on offer to travellers to maintain the positive trend.”
For the year through July, the Cayman Islands have reported 206,453 air arrival visitors. At the same point in 2008, the last time the number of visitors eclipsed 300,000, the territory had welcomed 208,329. “If we are able to maintain this momentum through the end of the year, we will be well on our way to achieving our goal of attracting 300,000 arrivals in 2011,” Mr. Scott said. The Cayman Islands have been below 289,000 each of the past two years. In July, worldwide passenger traffic also grew as demand increased throughout every major international market, according to the International Air Transport Association. “This increase was likely based on the much more optimistic economic outlook that marked the beginning of the year,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general said. “With business and consumer confidence now tanking, sluggishness in international trade, and high fuel prices, the expectation is for a weaker end to the year.”
Source: Caymanian Compass 13. September 2011, Jeff Brammer