Tourist air arrivals have seen a good start to the year with the January 2008 figure up nearly nine per cent on that of January last year.
At the same time, cruise arrivals showed a 13 per cent decline on January of the previous year. This continues a general decline in cruise passenger arrivals that has been seen since the middle of last year.
With regard to air arrivals, in January there were 25,845 arrivals compared to 23,726 last year.
January 2008s results show a continual growth in air arrivals since Hurricane Ivan, which damaged 90 per cent of buildings in Grand Cayman in September 2004.
January 2008 is also up on the pre-Ivan years of 2002, 2003 and 2004 by 5.3, 4.5 and 0.6 per cent respectively.
However, it remains down on the stronger pre 9/11 Januaries of 2001, and 2000, down 10.7 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.
In terms of activity in the main stay-over markets, visitors from the USA increased by 6.7 per cent in January 2008 over January 2007. The biggest increase was from the Southwest region, at 20.9 per cent.
There was very big growth in the Canadian market, a spurt of 25.8 per cent from January last year.
The European market also showed growth of 13.6 per cent over the previous January.
Meanwhile, this year’s January cruise arrival figure of 195,217 is some 30,000 passengers shy of last year’s January figure of nearly 225,000.
The 2008 January cruise figure is down on three out of five years preceding it.
Along with being down on last year, the January 2008 cruise figure is down 7.78 per cent on January 2006 and 5.88 per cent down on January 2004.
January of 2005 (a recovery year from Hurricane Ivan) and 2003 are 14 and 7.9 per cent lower respectively than January 2008.
Bad weather on four dates in January 2008 prevented a total of six scheduled ships from calling, the Port Authority confirmed.
Apart from a dip in 2004 and 2005 following Hurricane Ivan, cruise tourism has, in general, shown a general trend of growth but midway through last year the trend of decline began.
Cruise tourism for the year of 2007 finished 11 per cent down on the previous year.
Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford had not responded by press time to a request for comments on the latest tourist arrival statistics.