Air arrivals continue to fly high

Cayman’s air arrivals built on the recent positive trend by again increasing this May on a year-on-year comparison. 

The total of 23,440 arrivals was the third-best result over the last decade, beaten out only by May 2008 (25,722) and 2004 (25,502).  

Premier McKeeva Bush said the statistics released by the Department of Tourism showed a 7.4 per cent increase over May 2010 and a year-to-date increase of 8.1 per cent. 

“Given that the Summer months are traditionally a softer period, the Department of Tourism has once again worked with industry partners to offer the Summer Splash destination promotion, which is principally aimed at families, but is designed to keep a steady pace of visitors travelling to our destination through the summer,” he noted. 

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Trina Christian said the numbers were gratifying. 

“We are pleased to continue to see air arrivals increase; there have been a number of different factors at play. It does seem like consumer confidence is on the rise, which means people are travelling again and demand for the Caribbean seems to be maintaining itself or even increasing,” she said. 


Accommodation positive 

Cayman hotels reported improving results. Marc Langevin, the new General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, said that one of his first tasks upon arriving in early June was to review May’s performance with his team. 

“Results were encouraging on many levels,” Mr. Langevin said. “Occupancies mirrored the destination trends, showing growth over 2009-2010 but not quite up to 2007-2008 levels.  

“However, our May 2011 room nights from leisure travellers more than doubled over May 2010 as we had corporate groups spread out throughout the second quarter rather than clustered in May as is customary for the Caribbean region. This shows us that there is considerable demand for the destination among leisure travellers in the traditionally soft month of May if we market it strategically.” 

His words were echoed by Maria Laura Skec, director of sales and marketing at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.  

“With regards to May we can confirm that we replaced Groups with Transient business like never before, specially a month that we have historically recognised strong in Corporate Conferences and Incentives. Probably it was also the month with the highest ratio of last minute reservations year to date, which helped us to reach a full house in many days of the period. 

“Noteworthy is that besides the regular affluence of US travellers coming from the Northeast we saw a heavy pick up from European markets like the UK and Italy,” she told the Compass. 

At the Reef, occupancies far surpassed 2010 and look strong continuing during the summer, said Marketing Director Paul Robinson. 

“Cayman being ranked as the number one Caribbean destination by TripAdvisor did not hurt. Divers seem to be coming back in numbers,” he said. 

Mr. Robinson added that there had been a strong increase in guests requesting all-inclusive packages and that staycations had almost doubled in number compared to 2010. 

The condos sector also reported improving results. Penny Cumber of Cayman Villas said occupancy was up by 5 per cent, average nightly rent increased by 15 per cent and total rent collected increased by more than 40 per cent. 

“So, we too had a better May than last year – let’s hope that the balance of the summer follows suit,” Ms Cumber said. 


Seven Mile Beach remains a top attraction.
Photo: File