While February 2007’s tourist air arrival figure is up over 11 per cent on the same month for last year, it is down on figures seen in the previous part of the decade.
Tourist air arrivals to the Cayman Islands for February number 27,947, up over 11 per cent on February of last year, at 25,004.
This year’s February figure is also more than double that seen in 2005 (13,202) when the islands were recovering from a hit from Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.
This year’s February figure hovers near that of the two years immediately following the 9/11 attacks in the United States, when tourism was going through a downturn. February 2007 is marginally down (2.3 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively) on the same month in 2002 and 2003 when the figures were 28,608 and 28,270.
This year’s February figure is some 12.7 per cent behind that of 2004’s February figure of 32,022. This was a time when tourism was beginning to show a good comeback following 9/11, before Hurricane Ivan hit later in the y ear.
February 2007 is also some 17 per cent down on the pre 9/11 years of 2000 and 2001, with figures of 33,678 and 34,008 respectively for February.
So far this year, for January and February combined, air arrival figures total 51,673, and this represents a 14.4 per cent increase on where they were last year, or 6,506 extra visitors.
Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford has asserted that against the background that 2005 was the Cayman Islands’ recovery year after Hurricane Ivan, it is important to examine visitor growth in tandem with the level of recovery throughout the period.
With regard to cruise tourism, 2007 had the largest ever number of cruise passengers to visit the Cayman Islands in the month of February.
The monthly total is 203,734 passengers, which is up 12.76 per cent on last year’s figure of 180,675 passengers.
The highest number of cruise passengers for February, before this year, was in 2005 when there were 201,761, just one per cent lower than this February’s figure.
Cruise tourism has been growing steadily over the past years. The lowest available recent figure for February was back in 2001 when there were 107,463 cruise passengers that month.
So far this year there have been 430,013 cruise passengers, up 9.6 per cent, or 37,660 passengers, on last year.