Cayman in top 10 of warm weather destinations

As part of ‘warm weather destinations’ survey

A recent survey of travellers’ perceptions of warm weather destination showed awareness of the Cayman Islands is high, coming in eighth in the top 10 locations.

In a market research study done by the Harrison Group and made available to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, those being surveyed were asked to think of the top 10 warm weather destinations.

Destinations listed higher than Cayman included The US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico and Florida.

‘Given that we’re 17th in air arrivals in the Caribbean right now, that’s not a bad result,’ said Tom McCallum, tourism association member.

The association has a certain amount of data from the survey that it is permitted to share with its members, although actual distribution of the material is not permitted

The slideshow summarising the survey results was presented by association Executive Director Trina Christian.

The study tracked the attitudes, perceptions and behaviours associated with those travelling to warm weather travel destinations.

The purpose of it for the Cayman Islands was to help identify awareness and familiarity with the Islands and to determine visitation to Cayman in relation to competitors and outline travel behaviours.

It also captured perceptions and attitudes to the Cayman Islands relative to competitors and assesses expectations and satisfaction with travel experiences

The study also determined interest in future visitation and how individuals make choices about the Caribbean and the island they choose to visit.

Those surveyed had an average household income of $211,000 and the average age was 47.7 years.

Other information gleaned from the survey showed about half of the Caribbean traveller audience has visited the Cayman Islands at some point; one third of them in the past five years.

While the Cayman Islands are known to nearly all Caribbean travellers, 51 per cent have never been to the Cayman Islands and 43 per cent feel extremely or very familiar with the Cayman Islands.

Twenty-six per cent indicated that they definitely or probably will visit the Cayman Islands in the next two years – of those 20 per cent had previously visited.

Those intending to come, want it to be safe, friendly welcoming and a country of integrity, with good roads.

‘So we need to get the message out that it’s safe here, welcoming, easy to get around,’ said Ms Christian.

Cayman is one of the top destinations visited in the sample group. Those above the Cayman Islands included Mexico, Bahamas, USVI and Puerto Rico.

Mostly cruisevisitors

Sixty-three per cent of the people who came to the Cayman Islands arrived via cruise ship.

Those visiting by air were more affluent, but the perception of the Cayman Islands was virtually identical between the two audiences.

The satisfaction level among Cayman Islands’ visitors was about average relative to the other destinations covered, with USVI and Turks and Caicos the highest. The Bahamas, Jamaica and Dominican Republic are the lowest.

Cayman Islands visitors are less likely to stay at an upscale hotel and more likely to stay at condos than the average warm weather traveller, while average nightly rates are seen to be higher than average

Most vacationers are quite happy with their accommodation regardless of the destination. Cayman Islands’ visitors report parity satisfaction with their accommodation, with ratings ahead of the Bahamas and Jamaica.

Those likely to return to the Cayman Islands tend to prefer more developed economies while those unlikely to return are less committed to developed island economies.

The Cayman Islands attracts more of the adventure traveller that prefers smaller islands.

Travel budgets cut

Among those who have travelled to Cayman, 44 per cent did not consider another island when they made their choice.

With regards to trends in travel, the study found that while travel remains a top priority, over half indicated they had cut back on their travel budget – more often maintaining quality while cutting duration and frequency.

About one quarter of the Caribbean travellers can be considered ‘island collectors’, with the goal of going to all or most of the Caribbean islands. Most like the idea of being connected to one or two islands and exploring the others.

There is an interest and desire for adventure travel without being too adventurous – the right balance of adventure, safety and security.

Ms Christian said, ‘We know that the Cayman Islands does not exactly have many adventure travel type activities, but, for example … going out to feed blue iguanas to some families would be considered an adventurous activity. So I think that how you measure, who you’re speaking to and what they consider adventurous is certainly going to be skewed.’

The dominant travel sets for family vacation includes: people looking for family vacation – 35 per cent of the travellers; people travelling with friends – 25 per cent; those on romantic getaways – 24 per cent.

The study showed that adventure travel appeals to a large number of individuals, but not the majority.

Influencers on travel decisions include: friends; hotel and resort websites; travel advisory sites and magazines.