Air arrivals down

Tourist air arrivals for the month of August just gone are some 20 per cent down on the same month for the periods of 2003 and 2004 when the Cayman Islands were recovering tourist numbers following 9/11.

Now the Cayman Islands is trying to recover numbers following Hurricane Ivan’s blow on Grand Cayman in September 2004, when 90 per cent of buildings here were damaged.

August 2006’s figure of 18,064 is well up, 51.6 per cent, on that of 2005, at 11,917, when storm damage was still limiting tourism, nearly a year on.

The 2006 figure is down 22 per cent on 2004 (23,191) and 19.4 per cent on 2003 (22,422).

For the year so far air arrivals are at 192,806. This is 72.7 per cent greater than for the same period last year, at 111,632.

At last year’s tourism conference Director of Tourism Pilar Bush had said the goal for 2006 was to double 2005 numbers.

The final tourist air arrival figure for 2005 was 167,801, and double that would mean 330,000 visitors.

The newest goal set for the end of this year is 240,000 air arrivals.

At this year’s tourism conference Ms Bush noted that it’s turning out to be a very soft Fall, although she also noted, ‘It was a great winter and we had a relatively strong summer through the end June, early July.’

Meanwhile, cruise tourism for the month of August this year has had a very strong performance. It is the strongest August on record, with 144,179 cruise passengers. And, it is up 17.64 per cent on last August, which was another strong figure, at 122,562. Only 2006 and August 2002, at 126,643, surpassed it over the past several years.

The total number of cruise passengers so far this year (through August) stands at 1.3 million.

It has still some 500,000 to go to get to last year’s total figure of 1.8 million for the year.

However, so far, for the year to date, cruise tourism is ahead of where it was this time last year, by 6.62 per cent.

The average hotel occupancy rate in August 2006 was 47.7 per cent and for apartments 32.4 per cent. The yearly average for hotels for 2006 so far is 63.8 and for apartments 45.8 per cent.

The average length of stay at hotels in August 2006 was 4.6, with the yearly average so far at 4.5 days. The average stay in August 2006 for apartments was 6.7 days, with this the yearly average so far also.

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