GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, May 19, CMC – Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell says the British Overseas Territory continues to record an increase in tourist arrivals.
Kirkconnell, in a statement made ahead of next week’s general election, noted that stay-over visitor figures continue to soar after a record-breaking April .
He disclosed that just under 40,000 visitors touched down here in April, more than 4,000 more than in the same period last year adding that numbers for the first four months of the year represent 1.92 per cent growth on last year, which was also a record year.
“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.”
Concerning cruise arrivals, he said the figure fluctuated over the same period, but overall have risen from just over 1.5 million to more than 1.7 million.
Kirkconnell says his Ministry has targeted 400,000 stay-over tourists for this year, with the opening of the new a new resort – Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa as well as the Margaritaville resort .
Another plus, is the collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, the Department of Tourism, and the hotels and airlines.
“Given the continued upward trend, I am cautiously optimistic of achieving our goal of 400,000 stay-over visitors in 2017.”
He said further gains are expected with the opening of a new route from Fort Lauderdale, through Southwest Airlines, on June 4.
“It is extremely gratifying to see that our proactive strategies are delivering desired results,” said Joseph Hew, the tourism councillor.
“Performance indicators, such as the Average Daily Rate (ADR) 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. This gives a clear indication that the ministry’s strategies for tourism are working and confirms that the Cayman Islands tourism industry is in very safe hands,” he added.
The record increases were not matched at the port, however, where the cruise industry continues to experience mixed fortunes. With just 125,284 passengers on 41 ships, the figure was the lowest for April since 2013 and one of the lowest over the last ten years.