Cruise calls down as air arrivals up

| 31/03/2010

(CNS): The latest figures from the Department of Tourism suggest that the number of people visiting the Cayman Islands and staying overnight is increasing. However, bad weather cut cruise passenger arrivals making it the worst February for almost a decade. At the airport 711 more people flew in to Cayman over last year an increase of over 2.6%.from 26,482 to 27,193. Meanwhile, only 128,994 visited George Town by boat compared to 136,809 in 2009. The main reason was that while far more cruise passengers were projected to come poor weather saw a number of ships drop Cayman from their ports of call.

The high number of Nor’westers this winter has already impacted cruise figure but weather forecasters are predicting another cold front which could mean even more ships being unable to dock and adding more fuel to the argument to move the port project forward to build cruise berthing facilities.

The ships can sometime call at Spotts when Nor’westers cause problems in George Town however Spotts can only accommodate up to four vessels and depending on changes in the wind direction the cruise ships can not always depend on being able to anchor at that location.

Although the air arrivals are not all tourists the increase in people visiting and staying longer will provide encouragement to others in the tourism industry that still say this is the area of Cayman’s tourism product that the country should be focusing on and not the cruise industry.

According to the DoT’s detailed statistics the increase in the number of visitors over February 2009 came from the United States in particular the North East and Midwest regions.

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