First 2010 statistics show air arrivals up 6.8%

| 28/02/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman business news, Cayman tourism, Grand Cayman cruise tourism(CNS): Updated Monday* – Given the severe negative impact the global recession has had on tourism, the Cayman Islands can take some comfort in the fact that figures for Jan 10 show a 6.8% increase in air arrivals over Jan 2009. According to the latest arrival statistics from the Department of Tourism, the number of passengers arriving by air to Cayman was 25,006 compared to 23,404 in January 2009. Meanwhile, down at the port almost 4,000 more people were on the cruise ships that docked in Grand Cayman than last year, with a total of 165,378 compared to 161,657 in the first month of 2009. (Note: DoT have revised the figures on their website since this article was first posted.)

The statistics come at a time when the current government has been under fire to move the cruise berthing development project forward as quickly as possibly, and deal with the concerns about the environmental impact from those focused on generating overnight business. The premier has admitted that it has been difficult for the government to focus its full attention on the multiple issues facing the tourism industry as a result of major budget problems.

Steve Broadbelt, the President of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, issued a long statement last week which was widely publicised and pressed government to back cruise tourism and prioritise the construction of the two piers in George Town. Meanwhile, the former tourism minister, Charles Clifford, has criticised McKeeva Bush following his admission at the recent Cayman Business Outlook conference that he has not been able to focus on the industry as much as he would like, and said that was because the premier had taken on too much responsibility.

Clifford noted that it was impractical for the premier to have both the twin pillars of Cayman’s economy within his ministry, and as a result they would suffer.  “To have responsibility for both financial services and tourism as well as the budget is too much responsibility for one person,” Clifford said at the PPM’s public meeting last week. “He should decide if he is going to be responsibly for financial services or tourism, but he should not have both.” Clifford noted the premier’s admission that he had not had time to address the problems facing tourism, meant that Bush was ignoring 50% of the country’s GDP.

Speaking at the UDP meeting on the following evening, Bush denied having too much responsibility and said that Clifford had done nothing when he was in charge of tourism. The premier said the only reason why he was having to focus so heavily on financial services and the budget was because of the PPM administration’s irresponsible spending and because they drove financial service business away.

The premier has, however, been quiet recently on the negotiations regarding the private financing initiative with DART to construct the port cruise berthing facilities in the wake of speculation that the talks had been derailed. Speaking to Cayman News Service last week, the chair of the port authority, Stefan Baraud, said the talks were still on track, and while there was a considerable amount to discuss, DART was committed to the process.

CNS Note*: DoT informed us this morning that the figure recorded on their website on the month-to-month chart was incorrectly recorded as 23,404 for January 2010 (the figure used by CNS in this article) and that the correct air arrival figure is 25,006. DoT acknowledged the error on the website and said it is being rectified. CNS has updated this article to reflect the true statistics as supplied by DoT.

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  1. Anonymous9 says:

    Oh goodie. Can’t wait for this place to be like St Thomas. yippee.

    Anyone been there?

    What a shame

  2. Tony S says:


    I visit the Cayman Islands four to six times a year for the last five years. 
    I read your story regarding the decline of tourism.
    There are several  observations I have just from my brief time on the islands and speaking to friends, colleagues and tourists who Cruise. Funny thing is how difficult it is to get people interested in visiting Cayman.  ( Unless I offer them a place)
    Cayman Islands focus too much on cruise ship tourism.   Cruise ship passengers no longer have to come off at  this port.   Its not much different that any other port if your just getting off to shop.   Actually many say its kinda pricey.   Classic attractions are way over priced to the Cruisers.   Now, just by going on the internet, its easy to see how much someone is over charged by cruises to come to shore attractions such as the Turtle farm, or and excursion to the famed Stingray City.  Cruisers spend a lot of time doing research on the internet and read the forums.
    Visiting for short stays to Cayman is competitively overpriced.   Many with busy lives and businesses such as myself want to get away for a short period of time.   I buy airfare and accommodation "a la carte" and its expensive for short stays compared to other caribbean islands.   For example just to go online and find somewhere to stay ( off beach) for a short period (one week) is difficult.  Compare it to prices in other Caribbean locales which are more "short stay friendly"
    Finally,  a pet peeve of mine is that Cayman Dollar.   If it is so important than bill it as such on my visa.   Yet I am constantly having to ask if prices are in US or CI.  Tourist don’t like that because it already seems as though they are being tested to be overcharged.
    I do promote the island to friends, colleagues and casual acquaintances.  But your tourism policies make it a hard sell.
    • Hmmmph says:

      Its high time Americans started using local currency in other people’s countries instead of expecting that they can use the US Dollar. This is what all other nations have to do, so get over it. I am not a Caymanian so I don’t want to misrepresent my views as that of a Caymanian’s, however this issue bothers me. I have friends who have worked in tourism in Ireland, who have had Americans try to pay for items in USD, instead of EURO, which is absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stagnant figures or those that are lower is apt to be the "norm" soon with all of what is taking place around these islands. There are many places that are now a lot more attractive than we have allowed our people to become. Tourists were telling us for years that they did not like how we were changing, that we were losing our unique character as a tourist destination but no one was listening! Sadly us Caymanians are still not listening if we were what is happening now would not be taking place.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If we do get into the construction of cruise berths in George Town, will they be useable 365 days per year, or will the cruise ships have to bypass us when the weather conditions are bad in George Town. I doubt very much that the present owners of the tenders are going to keep them on stand by only to be used when the weather chases the vessels to spotts.

  5. Lachlan MacTavish says:

     Firstly… I believe the figures about arrivals are incorrect/not valid. Not because of the hard working CS/DOT employees trying to do their jobs….but because of the skew from the politico’s. This has been happening for 2 ….maybe…..3 ….decades….that is 20 to 30 years. The numbers are NOT stagnant…they are dropping …dropping….Cayman Trench.

    As always there are far to many HUGE capital projects….maybe stayover tourism for Caymanians only produces a living for the middle class….maybe the big old dock project puts bigga money into one or two peoples pockets.

    What do we want?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh – that’s because they are counting the Caymanians going through the ‘visitors’ lines because they are empty.

      Don’t worry, about the HUGE capital  projects, as proven in the past 9 months Mac, as the minister of finance, is great at balancing that budget with his creative accounting, it has worked so well.

      What’s the matter? No vote of confidence?


  6. A Noni Mouse says:

    I find it hard to believe air arrivals were exactly the same… that looks very suspect to me….

    • Joe Average says:

      The reason they are exactly the same is because they’re still waiting for a taxi.  Someone thought they were new arrivals.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s because this report is wrong.  Toursim arrivals were up to just over 25K; you have to look in the detail stats to see that.