Cruise arrivals up, air down in April

Cruise arrivals were at their
highest for four years during April 2010, but tourists arriving by air dropped
slightly compared to 2009.

There were 160,835 people visiting
Grand Cayman by ship, around 22,000 more than the same month in 2009 when
138,876 cruise tourists arrived. This is an increase of 15.8 per cent.This
year’s figures are the sixth best of the last ten years. So far 632,871 have
come to Cayman Islands by cruise ship this year.

Ash up, flights down

Arrivals by air were slightly down
in comparison to April, 2009. This year, 27,355 landed, while last year the
total for April was 27,973, a decrease of 2.2 per cent on a year-on-year
comparison basis.  Two possible reasons
for the slight reduction include an earlier 2010 Easter, which typically puts
an end to spring break visitors, and the ash cloud created by the Iceland
volcano, which cancelled a number of flights from Europe during the month.

However, according to figures
released by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the biggest losses were
visitors from the West Coast of the United States – down 10 per cent – and the
southeast of America, which was down by 9.8 per cent.

Of the 1,888 European visitors,
1,286 arrived from the United Kingdom and Ireland and 602 from Continental
Europe. The United Kingdom was down by 13.6 per cent on 2009, probably a direct
result of the volcanic ash cloud. All British Airways flights between 15 and 21
April were cancelled as a result of the closure of airspace in and around
Europe.

Summer splash

Gina Matthews, public relations
manager at the Department of Tourism, said that the ash cloud had inevitably
affected air arrivals but cruise arrivals struck a much more optimistic note.

“As the US economy continues to
show signs of strengthening, passenger confidence is returning and this is
ultimately translating into higher passenger numbers. Additionally, a variety
of deals and offers are being aggressively marketed which are also influencing
visitor behaviour,” she said.

“For the cruise sector
specifically, The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism continues to enhance the
cruise passenger experience, for example by conducting PRIDE training to
enhance general service standards and we are on track to relaunch the cruise
conversion programme in August,” she noted.

SpongeBob

Improving summer visitor arrival
numbers, Ms Matthews added, was now a focus for Cayman, with a new initiative
starting next week geared toward attracting families onto the island.

“Our Summer
Splash promotion kicks off on Tuesday, 1 June, whereby kids eat, stay and play
for free and they get the chance to meet SpongeBob SquarePants. If you’re particularly
young at heart you’ll know this is a big deal and something the kids get really
excited about,” she said. “Our expectation is that the summer splash promotion
will drive visitation over the summer months.”

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