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EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED BUT EXPANSION MUST BE MANAGED

Local News 19 Feb, 2024 Follow News

EXPECTATIONS EXCEEDED BUT EXPANSION MUST BE MANAGED

Judging from the newly released passenger numbers carried by Cayman Airways, both the national carrier and the Ministry and Department of Tourism deserve full applause that their individual and joint marketing campaigns are yielding good results.

As disclosed by Cayman Airways, “the airline transported a total of 422,189 passengers in 2023, exceeding the 410,800 passengers carried in 2019. This accomplishment not only signifies a resurgence in travel demand. It also showcases Cayman Airways’ dedication to meeting and exceeding the airlift needs of the Cayman Islands while operating successfully in a competitive and dynamic industry.”

Hon. Minister for Tourism and Ports, Kenneth Bryan noted: “I am proud to extend my sincere congratulations to the management and staff of our national airline, Cayman Airways, on this noteworthy accomplishment. This increase in passenger volume is a clear indication of the airline’s strength within an intensely competitive aviation industry, and is a result they have worked very hard to attain.”

Cayman Airways President and CEO, Fabian Whorms observed: “Whether it is curating the initial schedule or providing convenient travel arrangement options for passengers or offering comfortable and on-time flights, our people at Cayman Airways are consistently focused on providing a top-quality experience.”

With new tourism properties coming on the market or in the planning stages, accommodation for an increase in the number of short- and long-term visitors reflects a continued interest in Cayman as a preferred destination.

The resurgence in passenger traffic, especially arrivals, has also been confirmed in our own Cayman Conversations podcast interview with Marc Langevin, President of the Ritz Carlton in Cayman.

However, as Mr Langevin observed in Cayman Conversations, pressure is mounting on the local infrastructure to keep pace with this current growth and projections for the future.

This includes the recent expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport; a welcome development for travellers as it eases congestion and allows for a greater experience for arrivals and departures as well as increasing its handling capacity.

But even there, according to Mr Langevin, capacity issues could easily resurface as demand risks outpacing development.

“I’m always concerned that we are waiting for things too late to start to react and then we (fall) way behind. So again, we need to have to have a clear vision of where we’re going with our tourism product…So the airport will become, if not already on certain days, another one of those pinch points on the island to keep on being successful.”

It’s somewhat noteworthy, that in its listing of notable milestones of 2023 Cayman Airways, the recently opened Barbados route is not included although the Los Angeles route to which the Barbados connection is ‘strategically’ linked is said to have surpassed expectations “signifying demand for an additional flight weekly.”

In the meantime, it’s well worth it to bask in this success, but we must not rest on our laurels.


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