Stay-over visitor figures continue to soar after a record-breaking April for Cayman tourism.
Just under 40,000 visitors touched down in the Cayman Islands last month, more than 4,000 more than in the same period last year.
The numbers for the first four months of the year represent 1.92 percent growth on last year, which was also a record year.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, speaking ahead of next week’s election, highlighted the figures as evidence that his administration was doing the right things to keep visitors coming to the islands.
“My ministry has worked extremely hard to achieve the right balance in terms of marketing and airlift, and since taking office in 2013 air arrivals have hit record breaking highs more than a dozen times,” he said. “This means that approximately one out of every four months has been a record breaker.”
Arrival figures for stay-over tourists – the barometer the ministry uses to assess the health of the tourism industry in the Cayman Islands – have risen from 321,642 in 2012 to 385,451 last year.
Cruise arrivals have fluctuated over the same period, but overall have risen from just over 1.5 million to more than 1.7 million.
Mr. Kirkconnell has targeted 400,000 stay-over tourists for this year, with the opening of the new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and the Margaritaville resort adding room capacity.
Mr. Kirkconnell said the collaboration between his ministry, the Department of Tourism, and the hotels and airlines, particularly Cayman Airways, has helped boost arrivals.
The improving U.S. economy over the past four years has also been credited with contributing to the uptick in tourism arrival figures.
“Given the continued upward trend, I am cautiously optimistic of achieving our goal of 400,000 stay-over visitors in 2017,” the minister said.
Further gains are expected with the opening of a new route from Fort Lauderdale, through Southwest Airlines, on June 4.
Joey Hew, councilor for tourism, said the increase in arrivals is helping the economy.
“Performance indicators, such as the average daily rate for hotel rooms places the Cayman Islands at the top of the league compared to our competitors, which translates into tourism accommodations taxes making a sizeable contribution to our national treasury and GDP,” he said.