Stayover arrivals for July and August outpace projections.
Air arrivals are significantly outpacing projections bringing the Cayman Islands closer to registering 400,000 tourist arrivals by year end 2017. July and August were both record breaking months, with a combined total of 77,030 visitors.
For the first time ever, July arrivals surpassed March, which is typically the best performing month for visitation. Figures for August show that it was the best August in recorded history for stayover visitors, up 9.92% over August 2016, while July was up 6.83% over July 2016.
Understandably thrilled with the results, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for Tourism said, “We can be justly proud of these positive numbers which demonstrate that the strategies this Government has implemented to boost the shoulder season and slower periods during Summer are working well. I expected to see an uptick in arrivals for July and August from activities such as the Summer Only in Cayman and Culinary Promotions targeted at the USA, but actual results have surpassed all expectations. This is an excellent achievement for the destination.”
For July as well as August, the USA, Canada and Latin America regions all registered increases, with Latin America showing the most significant growth, up 23.88% for July and 51.76% for August. This strong performance follows an increase of 12.84% for the month of June, equating to 115,759 visitors in just 90 days.
Although Canada, UK and Continental Europe all registered negative growth, the Minister was optimistic that the target of 400,000 visitors would be achieved by year end. “We are currently trending almost 5% higher than where we were this time last year, which in specific numbers equates to 13,495 additional visitors year to date. I commended the Department of Tourism and the Islands’ private sector partners for their unified, innovative and consistent efforts to promote the Cayman Islands as the destination of choice for a magnificent vacation.”
Councillor for Tourism, David Wight also said he was pleased with the favourable stayover performance, “When visitor numbers are up the economy gets a corresponding boost which means more business particularly for services like taxi drivers and tour operators and more revenue for tourist attractions. To meet growing demand, additional taxi driver and tour operator permits have recently been approved, creating more employment for Caymanians. The outstanding growth in stayover arrivals is helping to offset a decline in cruise calls, largely due to inclement weather. As we head into the winter season cruise numbers are expected to rise and the trend in positive air arrivals is expected to continue.”