Tourist arrivals for February were up by eight per cent compared to February 2010, the sixth straight month figures have improved over the same month the previous year.
A total of 29,911 visitors came by air, the third best result in a decade.
Only 2008, with 30,380, and 2004, with 32,022 saw more stay-over visitors posted in figures released by the Department of Tourism.
Premier McKeeva Bush said in a statement that figures indicated gains across all source markets.
“Each of our main source market countries are posting positive gains – such as six per cent for the USA, 5.6 per cent for Europe and 29.5 per cent for Canada year over year,” Mr. Bush said. “Leveraging our marketing, PR and advertising efforts is contributing to the positive results that we are seeing and we will certainly continue along that path. But with that said, it is equally important that each sector and representative group – whether public or private – focuses on working together in unity and harmony, to create a tourism product that travellers will want to visit, return to and enthusiastically recommend to their family and friends.”
He said that the primary objective was to attract visitors and keep people coming back for more.
“The industry as a whole is on the upswing but it is still going to take more time and effort to rebuild tourism to its former heights,” he said.
Cruise arrival figures were up on 2009 and 2010 but still behind every other year since 2002.
In February, 2011, there were a total of 144,379 visitors to Cayman, which compared to 128,994 in 2010 and 136,809 in 2009.
Cruise traffic during February 2010 had been estimated as 155,000, but numbers were adversely impacted by bad weather, which led to Cayman missing ship 12 calls, including one due to engine trouble.
The Department of Tourism is currently working on a cruise conversion scheme, details of which have not yet been released.
Return on investment
Mr. Bush praised the Department of Tourism for what it had accomplished despite the fact that their budget had been cut by $7.3 million over the past two budget cycles.
“As a result of the cut, they have had to streamline their operations and re-divert funds to support the strategic objectives that deliver the most return on investment,” he said. “But with $7M less and a reduction in headcount, they are achieving results, and have helped us to achieve the positive trend in results that we are currently experiencing,” he said, also praising Cayman Airways’ input.
He added that the Kittiwake sinking had earned considerable global press which translated to an advertising equivalency of more than $3 million, which is the value of the space in the media had advertising been bought.