Highest number of stayovers in 11 years
Cayman entertained more cruise and stayover visitors in 2010 than the previous year and posted the sixth-best totals in the past decade.
“The tourism industry is showing promising signs of revitalising, as the latest statistics from 2010 indicate an increase in both cruise ship and air arrival numbers,” said Chairman of the Ministerial Council for Tourism Cline Glidden.
Cruise posted its best year since 2007, according to figures released by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Some 1,597,838 arrivals were registered, the sixth-best of the last 10 years.
December saw 175,393 visiting – the highest since 2006. There were 158,522 in 2009. Cruise was up by 77,466 passengers compared year-on-year; a 5.1 per cent increase.
Cayman ended the year with 288,272 visitors through the airport – also the sixth best figure in a decade.
Air arrivals during December, despite some weather-related cancellations, reached 31,191, which was the best figure since the 35,806 that visited during 2000. Both November and December 2010 were higher the two previous years and
A air arrivals were up by 6 per cent compared to 2009, with all geographical sources improving on a year-to-year comparison. The United States was the biggest market with 228,461, an increase of 13,419 visitors, which represented a 6.2 per cent jump.
Canada was up by 13 per cent, from 17,254 in 2009 to 19,499 in 2010. Figures for November for arrivals from Canada showed a 43.1 increase, 1.306 more visitors, and December showed 38 per cent increase, an additional 2,245 people. WestJet began thrice-weekly flights between Cayman and Toronto on Friday, 4 November, adding to the weekly Air Canada service.
Finally, Europe, with 19,850 people, was up by 3.8 per cent.
Mr. Scott said there is a feeling of cautious optimism, particularly with the air arrival figures.
“[T]he DOT has worked closely with the Ministerial Council, private sector and Cayman Airways to put together different destination packages and marketing initiatives that helped to quench our target visitors’ thirst for value added incentives for travel to the Cayman Islands.”
The increase was welcomed, said Thomas Mason, general manager at Comfort Suites.
“We feel that this is due to the new flights that have come on line; WestJet from Toronto as well as the direct US air flight to Philadelphia and Delta to New York on Saturdays. Cayman Airways has also helped out with some great value flight packages to the northern US cities. This, combined with the poor weather in the USA and the added value that Cayman is now offering as a total destination product is generating improved air arrivals.” Trina Christian, executive director of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, welcomed the improved performance and said it was also important to put the figures in context.
“From a strategic level we should not overlook the fact that [stayover] numbers are down over 2008 and that we should still be looking at the bigger picture; longer-term goal and vision of how we are going to make a more significant increase in air arrivals.”