According to pre-Ivan research findings the top attraction for stay-over tourists in Grand Cayman is the beach, while cruise visitors gave shopping as their number one activity.
The most popular item for guests intercepted in the Sister Islands was diving.
The findings are according to Visitor Exit Survey Findings prepared by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s marketing research and statistics unit. The findings are now posted in the visitor statistics section of the DoT website, www.caymanislands.ky
The survey dates span from 1 June to 31 December 2003.
The survey method was a two-fold approach: face-to-face and self-administered surveys at the air and cruise ports.
A random sample of 682 stay-over visitors and 250 cruise respondents were used. One person per party was interviewed and surveys were conducted on a weekly basis.
The survey shows that 78.3 per cent of stay-over visitors gave the beach as the top activity. Snorkelling/swimming came in second at 74.2 per cent while visiting restaurants came in at 72.4 per cent. Diving (51 per cent) and tours (27.7 per cent) were next.
For cruise passengers 75.5 per cent of them named shopping as their top activity. Second was snorkelling/swimming at 55 per cent. Next was tours at 39.8 per cent, followed by the beach (39.4 per cent), visiting restaurants (24.9 per cent) and diving (7.2 per cent).
The survey points out that the strongest impetus for stay-over travel to the Cayman Islands, as evidenced by 34.6 per cent of the sample is the recommendation of a friend or relative.
Other important mentions were a previous visit and the internet.
‘Of the stay-over guests who utilised the internet, one half of them cited use of ‘caymanislands.ky’, 26.2 per cent Expedia.com, 25.2 per cent divecayman.ky, and 15.7 per cent Travelocity,’ says the executive summary of the report.
Cruise passengers’ travel decisions were motivated by a friend or relative (34.5 per cent) or their travel agent (30.1 per cent).
The survey also points out that, of the few negative responses received about a visit here, price was an area of concern.
‘In addition to price, crowds and the need for a longer docking period were the kinds of sentiments expressed by cruise visitors,’ reads the summary.
Stingray City came out as the most frequently visited attraction in the Cayman Islands. Within the Sister Islands, the appeal of the Bluff was amongst the top attraction sites of interest.
Of those stay-over guests surveyed, 81.2 per cent intended to visit the Cayman Islands by air within the next three years. However, the most frequently mentioned time period of expected return was one to two year’s time.
Of cruise respondents, 68.4 per cent would be likely to visit by air within the next three years.
’18 per cent are however unlikely to do so and 30 per cent of these respondents explained that they simply prefer cruises versus travelling by plane. Another 20.5 per cent commented on the associated expense,’ said the summary report.
It points out that while a few of the stay-over participants (7.9 per cent) said they would return within three months, none of the cruise respondents were profiled in this short-term period.
In the ratings of the Cayman Islands, cleanliness, friendly people, safety, diving and strong economy were the main factors contributing to visitor satisfaction.
Cost, the country being overdeveloped, limited shopping in the Sister Islands and limited activities were some of the negative comments regarding Cayman.
For stay-over tourism the following were the strongest rated in terms of consumer satisfaction: water sports facilities, customer service, and accommodation.
For cruise tourism, the strongest rated were: water sports facilities, customer service and tours.
Least positively rated under stay-over tourism was: value for money, shopping facilities, taxis/rental cars/buses.
Least positively rated for cruise tourism was: value for money, taxis/ rental cars/ buses and port facilities.
In terms of spending, the average on-island expenditure per person per night for stay-over tourists was US$133.70 while for cruise tourism, the average on-island expenditure per person was US$112.64.