Cayman was on track to surpass last year’s number of stay-over visitors, with 410,984 such visitors coming to the territory through Nov. 30, according to the Department of Tourism.
That number of stayovers marks an 11.26 percent increase over the first 11 months of 2017. There were a total of 418,403 stay-over visitors last year.
The strong first 11 months of 2018 was punctuated by a record 38,172 air arrivals in November, which was a 9-percent increase over November 2017. A 10.43 percent increase in arrivals from the United States, including a 19.44 percent increase from the U.S.’s Southeast region, helped contribute to that record month.
Government attributed the rising number of arrivals from the Southeast to JetBlue’s daily service from Fort Lauderdale, which launched in October.
Additionally, visitors increased by 6.42 percent from the Northeast region, by 16.3 percent from the Southwest, by 15.97 percent from the West Coast, and by 4.55 percent from the Midwest, according to the tourism data.
Canadian arrivals showed strong performance as well, with increased visitation at 13.27 percent growth over November 2017.
“Continued efforts to grow the Latin American market are fruitful as visitation grew by 10.3 percent,” the Department of Tourism added.
Stay-over visitation has been growing steadily for the last nine years and officials predict the number of tourists will continue to increase in 2019.
“I look forward to ending the year with record-breaking arrivals and continuing this momentum through 2019,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell.
The Department of Tourism stated that events like the 11th Annual Cayman Cookout, Taste of Cayman, and KAABOO will help the tourism boom continue well into the first quarter of next year.
Meanwhile, cruise tourism dipped in November 2018, with 169,997 cruisers coming here. In November 2017, there were 208,695 cruise tourists, an all-time record for that month, which in part is attributable to a number of ships being diverted from other Caribbean islands that suffered heavy damage from hurricanes.
The territory has received 1,725,719 cruise ship passengers through the first 11 months of this year. Cayman has welcomed around 200,000 cruise passengers in December for the last several years. If another 200,000 passengers come here by the end of this December, then Cayman will break its previous record, set in 2006 when 1,923,597 visited.