Tourist air figures up

Hurricane Dean didn’t factor

Despite tourist evacuations and cancellations in August because of Hurricane Dean’s threat, the number of visitor air arrivals for the month for the Cayman Islands are above that of August last year.

Figures released by the Department of Tourism show that August’s tourist air arrival figure increased 1,417 from 18,064 last year to 19,481 this year.

This represents an increase of 7.8 per cent.

For this year, through August, air arrivals are up 8.6 per cent on where they were last year.

So far this year (through August) tourist air arrivals are up to 209,462. At the recent annual tourism conference Director of Tourism Pilar Bush pointed out that the goal for air arrivals for this year is 300,000.

Increases in the key markets over last year have been: US, 6.1 per cent; Europe 17.3 per cent; and Canada, 11.9 per cent.

Within the past eight years, the poorest performing August for air arrivals was in 2005 during Hurricane Ivan recovery, at just under 12,000, and the highest was back in 2001, just before 9/11, with 25,765.

Cruise arrivals were also affected by Hurricane Dean and the number for August, at 99,753 is down 30 per cent on August 2006’s figure of 144,179.

For the year so far, cruise arrivals are very slightly down, 2.33 per cent, on last year, with 1.28 million having arrived this year to date.

The highest performing August for cruise arrivals was last year, with 144,179. The poorest was in 2000, with 81,750.