Editorial for March 2: Good news is still good news

Missouri might be called the ‘Show Me State’, but when it comes to being sceptical, Missouri doesn’t have anything over the Cayman Islands.

Perhaps this is a manifestation of the deep political divide here, but the trend to scepticism here extends well beyond voters. Sinister motives are seen behind almost everything anyone does or wants to do. Devil’s advocates dissect good ideas until they are transformed into plots that will destroy our very way of life.

But sometimes good news is still good news.

The fact that Cayman had its largest number of January stay-over visitors in the last 10 years is good news. It doesn’t really matter that the numbers were aided by brutal weather in the US this winter or that specific events like the Cayman Cookout helped bring in some of these visitors. Just the fact that more people came here in January than at any time since before the 9/11 US terrorism attacks in 2001 – when Cayman’s stay-over tourism decline started – is joyful news.

The fact that cruise ship visitors were up six per cent over last January and up 8.5 per cent over the same month in 2009 is also good news, even if they aren’t as high as the peak years between 2004 and 2007. What the increases show is that cruise arrivals are starting to rebound from the global economic crisis and even if Cayman will lose some cruise tourism in the short term as it tries to get a cruise berthing facility built, it’s good to see positive signs in the industry.

Yes, the tourism situation could always be better. Room rates are still down over previous years and visitors aren’t spending as much as before. But regardless, it’s still much better to be seeing higher figures than lower figures, especially when the increases represent a definite trend. Monthly figures in both cruise and stay-over compared to the same month the previous year have been up significantly every month since last November.

This should be seen as great news, even if, as some sceptics are bound to point out, the tourists have caused some of us to get sick because of the flu viruses they’ve brought here with them.