Christmas shopping lured many overseas

Nearly 2,000 more residents, work permit holders and Caymanians went abroad this year than last year in the week running up to Christmas.

According to figures supplied by the Department of Immigration, during the week of 18 to 24 December 2004, 8,317 people left the Cayman Islands. This figure relates to everyone apart from tourists.

The number of people who departed the Cayman Islands the corresponding week in 2003 is 6,535. That’s 1,782 more people who departed this Christmas just gone.

Christmas shopping was the attraction for many, who travelled to the United States in the run up to Christmas for items lost as a result of Hurricane Ivan.

According to Travel Pros, some people just wanted to get away for Christmas after the hurricane, but a significant number also travelled to the US to shop. Roughly half of these people who went abroad to shop stayed overseas for Christmas and about half would have come home just before, estimated the travel agency.

It was a timely opportunity to stock up on supplies or household equipment wiped out by the hurricane, where people could take advantage of holiday days from work.

According to Adventure Travel, December was actually quite slow for air travel bookings, at least slower than October and November had been.

Many people went to the US to do shopping and the usual number of people would have returned to their native countries, such as the UK and the US for Christmas, said the agency.

But also, for some whose homes are not quite fixed up yet, they sought family time abroad in relatives’ homes for Christmas.