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Stayover visitors increase, cruise numbers down

Cover Stories 30 Sep, 2019 Follow News

Stayover visitors increase, cruise numbers down

Figures just released by the Department of Tourism show that this August’s stayover tourist arrival figures are continuing the upward trend for this type of visitor, with 37,356 people coming to the Cayman Islands to enjoy a summer holiday.


This increasingly popular tourist destination has seen more people wanting to spend their summer holidays here for the past few years and these latest figures show that this trend is not slowing down. Ten years ago Cayman welcomed 19,230 stay over visitors in August 2008. Fast forward to 2015 and that figure had leapt to around third more visitors at 28,971. In August 2016 the Islands saw a slight dip at 28,556 visitors while still maintaining an impressive increase, but 2017 saw the Islands receive 31,388 and last year the figure was 33,963. This year’s August arrival figure marks an increase of 9.99 per cent over August last year.


The same performance has not been found with cruise visitor arrivals however, with cruise arrivals for the same period decreasing by six per cent. A press release by the DoT noted that this was “of concern given the consistent decline for the past four months.”


Increasing numbers of summer stayover arrivals from Cayman’s predominantly North American tourists indicate that more people are viewing Cayman as a great vacation spot not just as a means of escaping the winter weather of their home country, but that the jurisdiction is also a great spot for a summer vacation as well. The DoT said that this August’s contribution continued the destination stayover tourism growth trend, marking year-to-date 2019 as the highest number of stayover arrivals in any year in recorded history and bringing the total stayover visitation for the year to 369,650, an increase of 10.68 per cent over 2018.


Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said that his Ministry had set out to flatten seasonality and to ensure growth of the economic benefit of tourism for everyone, with preliminary estimates showing total visitor spend from January to August 2019 at approximately US$663 million.


“August arrivals to the destination have demonstrated that we are accomplishing our goals with August’s contribution marking continued record stayover tourism performance,” he said.


The DoT attributed this growing trend to a number of strategies they had employed to get more people to visit Cayman during the traditionally slower summer months of old. These strategies had included working on diversifying target markets and growing the number of first time visitors to the Islands, as well working on as partnerships. This had also been bolstered by an increase in the number of airlines who have extended and increased service in August, such as Air Canada with increased service from Toronto as well as continued new market developments such as Denver with Cayman Airways service.


In addition, the DoT is currently running a targeted ‘Fall Only in Cayman’ promotion to encourage more visitors during the autumn, this year focusing on the total immersion wellness available in the destination that stretches beyond sand and sea. Visitors are encouraged to ‘Find their peace in Paradise’, by booking experiences ranging from organic and healthy dining options, fitness classes, spa treatments and more that warrant multiple days of indulgence, with the bonus of 30 percent off or the fifth night free.

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