Cruise passengers are spending more than 3 per cent less money in the Cayman Islands compared with three years ago.
The Business Research and Economic Advisors Cruise Analysis 2012 noted that during 2012, passengers spent US$93.75 per person on island, but the last time polls were taken, during 2009, the figure was $96.78.
Average spend per visit by the crew of the ships was virtually halved in a direct comparison. In 2009, the average spend was $108.81, whilst in 2012 this had dropped by 47.2 per cent to $57.50.
Total direct cruise tourism expenditures increased from $1.69 billion in 2008/20009 throughout the Caribbean region to $1.96 billion in 2011/12. This, said the report, was the net result of an 18 per cent increase in cruise passenger onshore visits and a 1.7 per cent decline in average total spend per passenger.
“The normalised total expenditures per passenger in the 20 common destinations [of the 2012 and 2009 reports] fell from $138.33 in the 2008/2009 cruise year to $129.97 in the 2011/2012 cruise year,” the report read.
“The decline in the average total spend per passenger is the result of a 0.8 per cent decline in the average onshore spending by passengers and a 3.6 per cent decline in the average crew expenditures.
As a result of the 16 per cent increase in total direct cruise tourism expenditures among the 20 destinations [common to both studies], the employment and income increased by 15.6 per cent and 18.7 per cent, respectively,” read the document.
The report was prepared for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and released in September, 2012. To develop estimates of the typical or average expenditures of cruise passengers and crew during their onshore visit, surveys were conducted onboard ships of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association member cruise lines. A total of 28,822 passenger surveys and 7,915 crew surveys were completed and returned for tabulation.
Cayman Islands was also the fourth-highest performing destination in the region with $24.9 million in cruise line expenditures during the 2011/2012 cruise year. Port and navigation fees, including passenger-based fees, accounted for 90 per cent of cruise line spending in Cayman.
Total expenditure revealed
The Cayman Islands also posted the fourth highest number of passenger and crew onshore visits of the 21 surveyed destinations, with 1.5 million visits. Combined with average per passenger onshore expenditure of $93.70 per visit and an average crew expenditure of $57.50, the Cayman Islands ranked fifth in direct cruise tourism expenditures. The $158 million in cruise tourism spending in the Cayman Islands generated 3,547 total jobs and $66.6 million in wage income during the 2011/2012 cruise year. Thus, in the Cayman Islands every $1 million in direct cruise tourism expenditures generated 22 jobs throughout the economy which paid an average annual wage of about $19,000.
More than the 21 destinations included in the survey, total expenditure was $1.99 billion with 45,225 people employed earning a total of $728.1 million.
The only higher financial figures than Cayman in this category were Bahamas ($393.8 million, employing 8,668 earning $146.2 million); St Maarten ($356.2 million, 8.123 employed earning $159.8 million) US Virgin Islands ($339.8 million, 6,349 employed and $139.6 million) and San Juan, Puerto Rico which posted total cruise expenditures of $186.6 million, employing 4,998 who earned $70.3 million in total.
The survey schedule was designed to generate a representative sample of cruise passengers by cruise line at each destination. Each cruise association member cruise line was scheduled to have its passengers and crew surveyed at least once at each destination, at which it had a port call during the survey period, according to the report. The survey period commenced at the beginning of December 2011 and concluded at the end of May 2012.