Stayover tourism numbers for the Cayman Islands for the year through August have set a record for arrivals.
The 369,650 stayover visitors to Cayman for the first eight months of 2019 represented about a 10.7% increase over the 333,975 air arrivals registered during the same period last year, according to a Department of Tourism press release.
The 37,356 air arrivals in August this year also marked a nearly 10% rise over the 33,963 tourists who came to Cayman the same month in 2018.
However, total cruise arrivals for the first eight months decreased by 6% from 2018. Comparing August figures for 2018 and 2019, the 116,806 passengers this year represented a 7.5% drop over the same month last year.
Commenting on the most recent figures, Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said, “As a ministry we set out to flatten seasonality and to ensure growth of the economic benefit of tourism for all. Preliminary estimates show total visitor spend from January to August 2019 at approximately US$663 million.”
Kirkconnell added that the numbers show the ministry is meeting its objectives. “August arrivals to the destination have demonstrated that we are accomplishing our goals with August’s contribution marking continued record stayover tourism performance,” he said.
In the release, the tourism department noted the record numbers were supported by a “strategic focus” on diversifying target markets, as well as increasing first-time visitors and building partnerships.
At the same time, airlines have recently extended and increased service, including Air Canada, which has expanded service from Toronto, and Cayman Airways, which added a Denver route earlier this year.