Cayman 5th worst hit destination in region

| 24/04/2009

(CNS): Although Tourism Minister Charles Clifford has said that Cayman is weathering the economic storm relatively well given the circumstances, recent statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) paint a different picture. For the first quarter of 2009 Cayman’s stay over tourism was down more than 11% when compared with last year and one of the most severe declines in the region. Jamaica, Cuba and Mexico all enjoyed an increase in arrivals and only four other destinations had a steeper decline than Cayman.  


The drop in tourist visits has been described as wreaking havoc on the region’s main industry by Winfield Griffith, acting director of research for the Barbados-based organization. The declines in the first quarter are the worst since the tourism slump that followed the 9/11 attacks in 2001, Griffith said yesterday (23 April). "The point at which it will hit bottom is not clear," he added.

Anguilla took the worst hit with a decline of 18.8 percent, according to the CTO statistics but numbers fell sharply in Antigua, St. Lucia, Montserrat and here in the Cayman Islands. Griffith said the small islands may be struggling the most in part because airlines have been eliminating flights within the region.

The disappointing statistic also come before the full implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which will require that all US residents travelling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada and Mexico have a passport in order to return to the country which takes effect on 1st June.

The CTO statistics also show sharp declines in arrivals by cruise ship passengers: down 28.7 percent in Jamaica, 25.8 percent in Puerto Rico and 19.6 percent in the Cayman Islands.


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  1. Green Hornet says:

    Uh…you can get a 4 star hotel room in Mo Bay for $45. OK, maybe that’s not making much profit, but it’s filling the hotels, and keeping people employed. What do we do in Cayman? Oops, occupancy rate is fallin’ down and we goin’ to lose money. Quick, put up de price. That should fix it. Right? Wrong!

  2. Anonymous says:

    The uncomfortable Taboo is that Cayman’s government is too big for a population this size.  CI Gov’t is far and away the number one employer on these islands.  The bureaucratic bloat of salaries and unchecked expenditures are to be balanced by duties, permits and landing fees.  For decades Cayman has been handicapped by the economics of that burden. 

    For the visiting tourist, this drives our product prices up and values down.   However, that bloat contributes to the assurance that there is no widespread unemployment, crime, and social unrest, and that no Caymanian gets left behind.

    Yet, in these lean times, Cayman could and probably should trim its "accounts payable" in proportion to its "accounts receivable" (just as the private sector is).  Other gov’ts around the world are doing just that.  The question is, where would all of the thousands of unnecessary workers find work?  Would gov’t workers agree to a pay freeze, or give up their perks for the sake of restoring value for visitors?  

  3. Kerry Horek says:

    I was on a cruise recently that came into port and maybe I planned this deliberately but I was happy I did.  The first view of Grand Cayman is Mount Trashmore.  If anyone wants to see the photos of what I took coming into our port please email me to   What was worse is that the comments of some people on the cruise about this mountain of garbage which is quite visible what it is even if you saw it for the first time.  I wonder how HSBC corporate headquarters would feel knowing that their office is just adjacent to this growing garbage dump.  I am aware that the Government has plans in the works to deal with this, but my problem with is how much longer are you going to take to deal with it. 

    I know that things take time but how much more time do and as a constituent I have seen how long it takes to get anything done in this country because of hurdles and stacks of red tape to filter through.  But clearly we have been dumping trash at this location long before I was born and how much longer are we going to sacrifice the sanitary conditions and the beauty of our islands because a few people who hold the powers in their hands want us to continue to wait. This problem has been stewing for generations through former Governments who have come before and never addressed the growing problem. 

    I want to know why is it that we don’t  have a mandatory recycyling program in place?  Why do we have to wait and wait and wait, to address this problem? What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for another Major Cat5 hurricane to wash this trash out onto our beaches and onto what coral reefs we have left etc?  I am personally tired of waiting and hearing we are doing something, but yet we see nothing!  Tell us what plans are in place and progress has been made. 

    If there is something in place to deal with this mountain of trash please let us know what the progress is and what is in the immediate future plans to remove this sore from the eyes of the cruise ship passengers. 


    NOTE to Editor, please send me an email and I will forward you the picture of the dump from my cruiseship balcony and you have my permission to publish it.  Thanks Kerry Horek

    • #1norsider says:

      Don’t worry folks, when Joey gets in in North Side and takes over Chuckie’s job everything will get straightened out. 22 days to go.

  4. Get a grip says:

    I recently had a number of friends and family over from the UK to attend our wedding. Whilst most of them thought Cayman was a very nice island, they all found it ridiculously overpriced and the tourist attractions were sadly lacking. For the money they spent getting and staying here they could easily have enjoyed an all inclusive 5 star break in any other caribbean island.

    The government needs to pull their fingers out and get some kind of a group together to work out a strategy to increase the tourism offering and improve the value that tourists are getting when they come here.

    Rather than putting some incompetent and inexperienced minister in charge of tourism they need to recruit talented and experienced individuals to run their tourism departments, even if this means employing the ‘bad foreigners’, it’s more important to get people that know what their doing rather than some muppet who hasn’t got a clue.

    Another improvement that needs to happen is improving the public transport system, or even getting one. Apart from the odd bus that runs up and down west bay road, visitors are left in the hands of rip off taxi drivers that can spoil anybody’s vacation with one fare!

    As all of the attractions are so far spread around the island, this makes it pretty difficult to visit them without needing a second mortgage to pay the taxi.

  5. Markus Mueri says:

    A booming destination in the Caribbean

    I just returned from a Golf Vacation from Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I was shocked to see a resort with 2800 guests, one resort only!! The languages where, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German and yes english. Wedding Parties, Families and many tourists enjoying a great vacation. It was shocking to see the departure lounge in an open air airport terminal, simply tropical and amazing to be bustling with languages from all over the world. Destinations with direct flights to Madrid, Stockholm, Moscow, Paris, Toronto, Boston and others.

    Belive me, it was a great trip, but i stillknow Cayman has more to offer. Cayman is a much nicer destination with more style and quality then the DR.

    They offer what people want on vacation, Golf , Beaches, Casinos, dancing into the late nights. Cayman needs to create a fun filled vacation destination. People want to have fun on vacation and not every tourist wants to buy or should buy a multi million dollar condo.

    Allow our tourists to come and enjoy

  6. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t help when tickets are always $1000 dollars plus to visit from Canada and all other caribbean destinations are so much cheaper(some include all inclusive)  Cayman needs to get off it’s high horse and start being a little more competitive if they want to stay a popular tourist destination.  Is it not better to have some tourist there at a lower cost then none at all????

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only $1000 from Canada but over $500 for a child from Miami. The prices are ridiculous.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just a quick reminder, cayman can’t depend on the good old usa for balancing their budget, as a caribbean national, i will suggest that cayman scrap their visa system toward the people of certain caribbean nation, they are the ones  who always helped to boost the cayman economy. another thing is the immigratiom, one has to be careful how he or she deal with a visitor to the island. Caymay Island immigration system has the most bad tempered people i ever come across, they are racist eventhough they are black. Don’t let your light skin fool you. If they change their ways people might consider coming to their shore.

  8. It is not paradise says:

    The problem is that Caymanians have bought into the "This Is Paradise" puff.  Cayman is one of the least attractive islands geograhpically in the Caribbean.  And then make it incredibly expensive.  And get rid of long serving and experienced staff with rollover.  Add this all together and you get a very fragile tourism industry.

  9. Anonymous says:

    As someone one worked hard to promote the Cayman Islands for many years, I am heartbroken to see how far we have fallen.  The other destinations are struggling with the down turn, yes, but we are taking a huge hit.  I never ever thought we would have any thing in common with Anguilla and Montserrat. AND we have our own airline to use as a tool and STILL we were unable to keep stride with the other regional destinations. This is what comes from not knowing or listening to your market or your overseas staff. I guess our days of "envy of the Caribbean" are over for awhile.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What is the Minister of Tourism and PPM Government doing about this except blaming the world economic situation.

    Not good enough!! Not good enough for Caymanians that are hurting and can’t put food on their tables!!!

    They say we have to bide our time and wait for the ecomony to get better – Lets vote the Minister of tourism and the rest of the PPM out, we can’t bide our time with a Government that doesnt care about our people!!!


    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe, just maybe Chuckie will open his eyes and see what is coming our way, cause he sure cant hear and it seems that he dont care either.His colleagues dubbed him the short but powerful man not afraid of any one, he should be afraid of the poor times that are fast approaching our shores.

      How long have the writting been on the wall about cuba, just wait untill they open up again thats what we the smart  people keep saying but Chuckie keep flapping his gums and doing nothing about it. Another area that we have been talking about is the medical care in cuba,even some of the high class people are going to cuba for medical, so Mr Anthony should listen also.Or better yet what ever government get in should beg Mr Miller to take over the hospital, but I hear that he says that he do not want a ministers seat, so if Mr Eden gets back in we are still in deep ???????????.

      Oh how I long for the good old days, mosquitos or not, we had common sense.

  11. Anonymous says:

    But you have got to remember Chuckie counts the Cubans twice a day and even them will soon be gone because of  the USA allowing them to fly direct and of course they won’t have to put up with our unfriendly and nasty immigration officials anymore! 

    In Chuckie’s mind, tourism is booming in Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      I suddenly feel panicked – how could all this have gone on – the drastic reduction of tourist to our shores, and no one  on the PPM side even having the courage to tell the Caymanian people.  What a cover up.  Hope all is not lost and that we are able to restore this segment before its too late.. You can bet that when Cuba opens up to all Americans  dog will eat our suppa!  Especially if we are still in the clutches of the PPM.