Air arrivals continue growth

Tourist air arrivals for July 2008 are up 11.6 per cent on the same month last year despite the global economic downturn.

There were 30,008 tourist air arrivals that entered the Cayman Islands in July 2008, 3,113 more air passengers than July 2007.

And for the year so far (through July) air arrivals are 9.7 per cent ahead of where they were last year, with 208,329 air arrivals, or 18,348 more than last year.

Meanwhile, cruise tourism for July this year dipped just slightly with a drop of 0.62 per cent on the previous July. This July there were 108,514 cruise passengers, just 682 less than the previous July.

But for the year to date cruise tourism is down 12.35 per cent on where it was last year.

The month of July marks a 15-month stretch of continuous air arrival growth over the preceding year and, bar one month (April 2007), since September 2005 air arrivals have been gradually increasing. Tourism figures plunged after Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, which damaged 90 per cent of buildings on Grand Cayman.

July 2008 shows the fourth highest air arrivals figure for the month in the past nine years, the highest being in 2000 with 34,004, followed by 2004 and 2001.

For July 2008, within the major markets for air arrivals, the US market grew by 14.4 per cent over the previous July, Europe grew by 5.2 per cent while the Canadian market fell by 7.9 per cent.

For the year to date, within the major markets, the US is up 9.8 per cent, Europe is up 7.7 per cent and Canada is up 16.2 per cent on the same period last year. Air arrivals from other markets have grown by 4.7 per cent.

Meanwhile this is the 14th month in a row that cruise tourism has declined as new cruise markets open up elsewhere.

July 2008’s cruise arrival figure is the fourth lowest for the month in the past nine years.

The highest number of cruise passengers for July was in 2002 when there were 137,742.

The Department of Tourism notes that every visitor recorded by the CI Immigration Department has been counted as a tourist arrival. Because of conflicting values, including 3,938 records entered as tourists, which had a stated purpose of in-transit, this creates a maximum potential error fraction of up to two per cent for tourist air arrivals.

The tourist arrivals statistics are posted at www.caymanislands.ky/statistics

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