Air arrivals soar but cruisers start to dip

| 02/06/2011

(CNS): Despite high tourist arrival figures over the last six months at both the  port and the airport, April saw a decline in cruise passengers while stay-over visitors continued to show a marked improvement. According to this month’s Department of Tourism statistics air passenger arrival numbers were the highest for April since 2004 with 30,824 people visiting the island. This was an impressive 12.7 percent increase on air arrivals in April 2010 which was again fuelled by a significant increase in passengers from Canada. However, arrivals from across the United States and Europe were also up, even visitors from UK and Ireland showed a 29.2% increase on 2010.

Meanwhile, however, in keeping with recent complaints by tour operators, taxi drivers and business owners in down town George Town, cruise arrivals fell last month. Following a number of warnings that the cruise figures would begin to decline as the new class of mega cruise ships now plying the Caribbean are dropping Cayman from the schedules cruise arrivals fell by 8.7%. Less than 147, 000 people were on board the ships which docked in Cayman throughout April compared to almost 161,000 last year.

However as January, February and March saw higher cruise arrivals this year when compared to 2010 the year to date figure at the George Town port is still better than last up 3.9%.

However, arrivals at the airport are up over 8% so far this year with the arrivals from Canada up by 41% as a result of the new direct flight service by WestJet between Grand Cayman and Toronto. Canada now accounts for more than 10% of the passengers flying into the Cayman Islands. While the new airline has helped boost the figures from Canada flight arrivals from the US are still up more than 6% and from Europe by more than 11%.

April also saw occupancy rates in apartments improve and although hotel occupancy remained lower in April than last year apartments and condos had an increase of over 8% in their occupancy rates.

There are currently 4564 beds across 274 different properties. The average length of stay has also increase slightly among visitors this year, especially among those staying in apartments and condos. The Department of Tourism statistics reveal that the average length of stay has increased this year by a one full day with guests staying for average of 7.8 days.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If we were to increase our runway, we would have evenmore air arrivals & more business for our downtown, restaurants, etc., etc.  A lot more money in our local economy than cruise shippers will ever spend.

    We're way behind the rest of the Caribbean due to the length of our runway….it needs to be extended ASAP!!



    • Name changed by moderator says:

      Good point. That is exactly what Provideciales has done and their tourism is booming.Cayman needs catch up and politicians take their head out of the sand.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Once again I was looking to book a 6 night, 7 day holiday to GC for August. Priced out at $1495 staying at an inexpensive hotel including air. I decided to look around and see what else I could find and a couple AI's in JA are pricing out under $900 for the 7 days (air,hotel, food & drink) and Barbados , also AI is $920 (air, hotel, food & drink).

    WHY is GC still so highly priced….mid summer…low season????



    • Anonymous says:

      And there is more to see and do in JA and Barbados!

    • Anonymous says:

      That seemed out of wack so I tried pricing it using Flight plus hotel in GCM priced out at $1,122 for the 2 1/2 star Ramada flying from NYC Aug 4-14, while the cheapest flight plus all inclusive resort I could find in Barbados for the same period was the 3 star Almond Casuarina at $1,546, although the 2 star (non all-inclusive) Sun Bay Resort was on offer for $923.  

      • Anonymous says:

        It was out of MHT, our closest airport…the two in GC were $1495 and 1524. The one in Barbados….was $926, I believe and the two AI's in JA were in the upper 800's, but closer to 9.

        I could fly out of BOS…which is now pricing out a bit cheaper, but that adds on over an hour 1/2 drive and some of these flights land after midnight and with delays (usually thunderstorms in the summer)….I may have to add in extra hotel rooms.

        I just asked the question as it is low season in the caribbean…why are the flights to GC still so high??

        BTW…I was checking Orbitz and Expedia. Priceline is great, but with name you price…I could get a 2 way connecting flght or an overnight flight which also would mean another hotel room. We are trying to do an inexpensive get-away! It used to be easy….and inexpensive.



        • Anonymous says:

          Not getting that for MHT to Barbados. Cheapest package on Orbitz was $1244 at Sunbay, which compares to $1226 at Treasure Island Resort in GCM. The Mo'Bay prices are cheaper at around $900.

          Re Flights perhaps it is on lower volume to GCM.  

          • Anonymous says:

            Maybe you should become my travel agent. I didn't make the figures up. I wrote them down when I checked them a couple days ago. Last night  I looked for just air and the lowest air was $525 to GC highest $717(Cayman air). To me, this is still high for low season.

            I will keep checking as I do not want to go somewhere until August.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are the people that fly Cayman Airways in transit to Cuba counted in these numbers?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Well, here it starts….. the summer drought of cruise ship arrivals…. RIP poor downtown retailers.  Meanwhile, Big Mac is in Florida doing nothing, as usual.

  5. Rorschach says:

    Best news I've heard in a LONG time…