Air arrivals surpass post 9/11

Tourist air arrival figures for April 2006 have surpassed the corresponding month for the post 9/11 period – 2002 and 2003.

Boatswains Beach

Visitors check out a turtle at Boatswains Beach. The latest statistics released from the Department of Tourism show encouraging signs that Caymans tourism industry is gaining ground following the events of 9/11 and Hurricane Ivan. Photo: File

This is the first time since Hurricane Ivan’s visit that a monthly air arrival figure has surpassed the corresponding months of the post 9/11 period.

Hurricane Ivan damaged 90 per cent of Grand Cayman in September 2004.

Figures just released from the Department of Tourism show that 28,403 visitors arrived by air in April 2006.

Although this figure is still down 16.2 per cent on 2004’s figure of 33,903, it beats the figures for 2002 and 2003.

By 2004 Cayman’s figures were well recovering following a shaky travel industry in the wake of 9/11.

Figures for 2002 and 2003 respectively are 26,768 and 27,807. This year’s figure represents an increase of 5.8 per cent and 2 per cent increase respectively.

For April 2005, when tourism was still in recovery following Hurricane Ivan, the figure for air arrivals was 15,423. This year’s figure is 84.2 per cent up on that.

For the year to date (through April), air arrivals are at 105,063. This is up 84.2 per cent on last year’s, when it stood at 57,036.

Tourist cruise arrivals for the month of April 2006 are 182,790, up 4.63 per cent on last year’s equivalent, for which the figure was 166,289.

However, this April’s figure is slightly down on that of 2004 (4.1 per cent), when there were 190,631 cruise guests here.

Aside from 2004, April’s figure for 2006 is the highest figure for cruise arrivals.

So far this year (through April) there have been 828,267 tourist cruise arrivals. This is up 4.63 per cent on last year’s figure for the same period, which was 791,597.

Average length of stay in hotels for April 2006, at 4.2 days, is the lowest in recent years. The highest average length of stay in hotels was five days, in 2004.

Average length of stay in condos/apartments or guest houses for April 2006 was 6.4 days. The lowest in recent years has been 5.7, back in 1999, and the highest was 7.2 days, in 2001.

Average hotel occupancy rates for April just gone are 71.9 per cent. The highest in recent years was in 1998 when it was 82.7 per cent. The lowest was 54.9 per cent in 2003.

For condos, apartments and guesthouses the occupancy rate for April 2006 was 53.7 per cent. The lowest in recent years was in 2002 when it stood at 42.5 per cent. The highest was back in 1998 when it was 67.3 per cent.

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