The tourism sector will be boosted
by the resumption of direct flights between Grand Cayman and Chicago and
The seasonal flights on national carrier
Cayman Airways open up routes for the high season, which tourism professionals
hope will help boost visitors over the coming months. Direct flights between
Cayman and any destination are a bonus, explained Harry Lalli, chairman of the
Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
“Chicago and Washington are
important markets for the Cayman Islands. I am hoping that the price Cayman
Airways offers will be very attractive and may get other carriers to lower
their price as one of our biggest challenges is the price of airfare to get to
Cayman compared to other destinations.”
The service between Grand Cayman
and Chicago O’Hare Airport begins on 21 November with flights operating on
Wednesdays and Sundays. Flight KX504 departs Grand Cayman at 8.15am and arrives
at Chicago O’Hare International Airport at 11.10am. On the return, flight KX
505 departs Chicago at 12.40pm, and arrives in Cayman at 5.35pm.
The Washington, D.C., service
begins on 18 December and runs twice-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays until
30 April. Flight KX590 departs Grand Cayman for Dulles International Airport at
9am, arriving at 12.30pm. On the return, flights depart Washington DC at 2pm,
arriving at 5.30pm.
Shomari Scott, acting director at
the Department of Tourism, said that in the past, this route had proven to be
an important gateway for many vacation and business travellers from the USA’s
“The re-launch at this time will be
an added convenience for travellers to and from our Islands, along with the regular
flights out of New York City.
“The Department of Tourism is also
delighted to see the continuation of the Chicago flight as that area continues
to be a strong tourism market for the Cayman Islands,”
Round trip fares start at $199.92
for Washington, $263.76 for Chicago and $199.92 for New York.
The tourism sector is putting
special offers in place to entice visitors to make the most of their stay, said
Mr. Lalli, with CITA members putting on special offers in accommodation and
deals in restaurants that will take place upon presentation of a boarding pass
from the Washington flight. It is a boost to the industry, which is optimistic
about the coming season.
“The industry hope is to break the
300,000 mark for air arrivals between now and end of year and of course to
increase business over the first quarter compared to last year.
“The Christmas season is looking
very good at some of our member properties,” added the chairman of the private
sector body, which comprises over 200 tourism-associated businesses in the
The Department of Tourism is
launching a marketing and sales promotion to coincide with the Washington
flights. According to Mr. Scott, this will include online and television
adverts, direct electronic marketing and social media campaigns. This will be
centred around the Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and West Virginia.
Premier McKeeva Bush said that it
was vital to use all resources to increase tourist numbers between now and the
start of the high season in order to bring new customers to tourism businesses.
He added that these routes
demonstrated the value of Cayman Airways to the tourism strategy.
“Without a national airline we
could not decide to reopen these strategic gateways and provide non-stop
service to the Cayman Islands from major population centres in the US. Non-stop
service from Chicago and Washington, DC makes travel to the Cayman Islands much
more attractive to travellers from the northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest
regions of the US.
“With the marketing of the
Department of Tourism and by scheduling the Cayman Airways flights at the best
possible times and days, I expect these routes to make a significant contribution
to our visitor arrivals. An increase in air arrivals is vital to the economy of
the Cayman Islands and this is an important step toward that goal.”