The country recorded some 309,000 stay-over visitors last year – representing a 7.2 per cent increase over the 2010 performance – and is the best stay-over visitor arrival figure the Cayman Islands has recorded in 10 years, according to tourism officials.
The month of December 2011 showed the best stay-over visitor arrival figures for any December since the year 2000. The government recorded 33,353 visitors landing on Cayman’s shores, representing a 6.3 per cent increase over the arrival figure of 31,391 for December 2010.
Premier McKeeva Bush noted that the latest figures point to a continuation of the positive trending that stay-over arrivals have been showing for 16 months in a row.
“Stay-over tourism arrivals have also been positive for 26 months out of the last 28. So out of the last 2 years and 4 months we have been positive for 2 years and 2 months, when many other destinations have actually had negative arrival figures,” Mr. Bush said.
“Unfortunately, our cruise arrivals for the month of December have continued to fall, registering a 9.2% decline over December 2010 and an overall 12.3% decline year-to-date.”
Comparing the Cayman Islands’ performance with other Caribbean destinations, the Premier noted that out of 24 countries that report their arrival statistics, only four who reported through September 2011 had recorded stay-over arrival increases greater than 7 per cent and the Cayman Islands’ level of improvement had been surpassed only by Cuba and Curacao.
“We can be justly proud of these positive numbers, which are the result of the plans and strategies that this government has been putting in place – both in response to the continuing effects of the global recession, as well as from our own forward-thinking and long-term strategic approach to this very important sector,” Mr. Bush noted.
“The Cayman Islands is regarded as a premier destination of choice, which is evidenced not just by our growing numbers but by the visitor acclaim we have received, including being named as the number one destination in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor travellers. This speaks to the efforts made by the DOT and our tourism partners to distinguish ourselves in ways that are welcoming and wholly satisfying to the visitor experience,” the Premier added.