The CARIFTA track and field event has been credited with boosting tourism arrivals in April as the Cayman Islands notched up another record month.

The pattern of booming arrivals continued with 46,079 stayover visitors arriving in April – an 18% increase on the same period last year.

That included more than 2,000 visitors from the Caribbean region for the CARIFTA Games, which took place in Cayman over the Easter weekend.

Those numbers helped propel Cayman to its best ever April and the fourth consecutive record-breaking month of 2019.

In total, 191,883 visitors touched down at Owen Roberts International Airport for the first four months of this year, compared with 173,227 for the same period last year – an increase of more than 10% on what was previously Cayman’s best year for visitation.

April also saw an increase of 2.17% in cruise arrivals, with 154,983 passengers arriving on these shores. There have been just under 800,000 cruise passengers visit Cayman in the first four months of 2019, a marginal decrease overall on the same period last year.

Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, in a statement announcing the figures, paid tribute to the impact of CARIFTA and of sports tourism in general.

“Diversification in visitation is essential to increasing our stayover performance and levelling seasonality,” he said. “Sports tourism creates opportunities to positively impact both visitation and total visitor spend. I am proud that the Cayman Islands will host the third-annual Cayman Islands Classic [basketball tournament] this fall, and look forward to welcoming the teams and their fans from across the United States.”

There was more positive news for Cayman’s tourism industry as Cayman Airways won the ‘best airline’ category in the traveller’s choice awards from regional tourism magazine, the Caribbean Journal.

“These international and regional awards are testament to the steadfast foundation that has been built, and to the ongoing hard work and commitment of approximately 400 employees with us today,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms.

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