Tourism stats still down

| 29/12/2009

(CNS): With only one month’s statistics left to come in for 2009 it is likely that the Cayman Islands’ annual tourism arrivals will be down for both cruise and stay-over visitors this year. While November air arrival stats were an improvement on 2008, unless December turns out to be a record breaking month, visitors to Cayman by air will be the lowest in 2009 since 2006. With five ships in port on Tuesday morning, downtown George Town was experiencing one of its busiest cruise days of the year, but one which again is likely to show yet another decline.

With the world recession still biting, tourism has been one of the hardest hit industries, affecting a number of Cayman’s small businesses and local unemployment levels.

According to statistics from the Department of Tourism, 20,614 people arrived in Cayman by air in November, an increase of 883. However the annual total for air arrivals for 2008 was 302,879, and with just one month o the year left, so far only 242,393 travelled to Cayman by air, meaning the destination is looking at more than a 10 to 15% decline for the year depending on how December’s stats measure up.

Last year’s cruise annual arrival statistics were the lowest since 2001 and 2009 may be lower still. With 1,361,850 people having arrived in the 11 months of the year so far, Port Authority statistics suggest a possible 150,000 will visit in December, giving a total of around 1,520,000 for the year.

With stay over numbers remaining low hotels and condos are averaging less than 52% occupancy this year compared to over 53% last year with hotels showing a steeper decline than apartments and condos which remain at similar levels.

With the promised investment in a cruise berthing facility in George Town to start in 2010 and several new condo and hotel projects also planned for next year, many people are counting on the second pillar of the economy to rebound in the new decade, creating jobs and business opportunities to buoy up Cayman’s flagging domestic economy.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just back from Jamaica (instead of my annual Cayman visit) and the 2 main reasons I went there instead  over New Year’s was price (JA was $600. cheaper for same time period- air/hotel/breakfast) and I knew I could find great entertainment each night. Cayman needs to lower airfare and offer more local live entertainment besides sitting at a bar watching a t.v. or listening to a stereo system.

  2. The Force says:

    Rising crime and declining tourism  go hand in hand. We must take swift action. It seems thta the police have decided to sit back and let the criminals take care of each other.  That may work but remember that even though some of these killings are in retaliation or "getting even" they will produce more and more names on a hit list as with each killing there will arise new targets as well.

    Tourism needs to be addressed very quickly.  The young acting director is a very nice and relatively smart young man for whom I have a lot of respect and admiration.  However, remember he got ‘thrown in to the deep end’ with Pilar;s abrupt departure and frankly he just does not have the experience and maturity to take Cayman’s tourism out of this "perfect storm".  Shomari would be fine in a couple of years, providing he is now given an experienced well rounded Director to work with, even if it’s only on a contracted basis for 3-4 years.

    I trust that those who are in the decision making process (the political directorate) will take heed and pay attention to the very bold writings on the wall.

  3. Peter Milburn says:

    I agree with Lachlin 100%We have been saying this for years especially during the slower months.CUT AIRFARES AND INCLUDE TAXES>Miami to GCM should be US$200 round trip INCLUDING TAXES.Once the planes are full of arriving passengers the spin off will take care of the loss of revenue on the planes.We are subsidising CAL anyway so go for it.Nothing to lose ALL TO GAIN.The other airlines should follow suit as CAL basically controls their airfares anyway.


  4. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     I remember when those of us who were in the stayover tourism industry were very upset with a 65% annual occupancy.

    When will the leaders of the country address stay over tourism with a "Tourism Authority" combined private and public sectors. Obviously The DOT needs assistance. CAL will always loose….so create airfares that will attract stay overs. The trickle down into the economy will be positive.

  5. Peter Milburn says:

    Not surprising that arrival by air are down as is cruise arrivals but one thing is for sure we need more stayover visitors to prop up the flailing economy as they spread money across the board more so than cruisers.It is a known fact that stay overs spend far more money than cruisers and until we can entice the cruisers to come back as stay overs(which is not easy when there are so many ships in town on some days and they see how crowded it can become)It is time to shut down harbour drive to regular traffic so that traffic (buses&taxis) can flow along to the north easily and get away from the traffic jams on that street.

          It will be interesting to see what happens once our new dock construction begins(if indeed it does)to the ships and passengers as they dis-embark in town.I really hope that the powers that be have a plan in place to deal with more traffic and less space to work with.In the meantime we shall all wait and see how our marine environment is once more put under the gun and what further damage will be done to our other reefs further along west bay beach and even the far reaching effects on other parts of the island.

              For a better Cayman.

  6. Pluto says:

    It should be noted that the cruise ship statistics include thousands of cruise ship tourists who were diverted here because of the Mexican flu epademic. The Minister of Tourism should let the public know just what these figures are.