Cruisers sink while air passengers stay up

| 28/06/2011

(CNS): The latest statistics from the Department of Tourism have confirmed what business owners dependent on cruise passengers have been saying for several weeks that the numbers are way down. After a strong start to the year the drop in cruise passengers which began in April continued in May with an almost 20% dip compared to May 2010. Last year 114,504 cruise passengers docked in George Town during the month of May compared to 91,909 this. Meanwhile arrivals at the airport remained on the upward trajectory with a 7.4% in the people flying into the Cayman Islands.

While the outlook for the cruise tourism becomes increasingly gloomy with a first quarter decline of more than 13% so far 2011 continues to look better for stay-over guests with a more than 10% increase on the first quarter of 2010.

Once again air arrivals were boosted with a more than ten percent increase in passengers from Canada. In May 2010 1283 people flew to Cayman from Canada but last month 1417 passengers came from that country. Although passengers from the UK and the rest of Europe showed a decline of around 11% the increase of almost 9% from all across the USA meant 23,440 arrived at Owen Roberts International compared to 21,824 in May 2010 and 21,438 in 2009.

The steep decline in cruise passenger arrivalsfor the month however, does not bode well for the summer months for businesses in downtown George Town. The 91,909 cruise arrivals for last month is the worst statistic for more than a decade not since 2000 have less people sailed into the port during May.

Meanwhile, the tourism industry was celebrating its own last week with CITA’s annual Cayman Stingray Tourism Awards at the Grand Cayman Marriott. Government officials and those in the business were there to hand out gongs to employees in the industry who have gone above and beyond the call of duty as ambassadors for Cayman. 

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Category: Tourism

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  1. Anonymous says:

    KX should be seeking to codeshare with COPA and connect our islands to the wealth of opportunity in South America.  Once a week at a minimum.  No added infrastructure required!  Imagine being in Brazil, Argentina, or Chile in hours, instead oftaking all day and night. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Focus on stayover tourists, cruise tourism does not spend 95% of what stayover visitors spend and I can attest to that fact.

    I went on a cruise and spent only $8 in the economy to buy a few items, however when I visited that islands as a stayover visitor I spent a lot more I spent atleast $50 to $80 per person each day for theweek that we were there.  So go figure.

    The day that the Cayman Island build that dock where passangers can go back to the ship for lunch, that will be the day that most of the restaurants in town will close down.

  3. nauticalone says:

    Due to the size of Cayman, infrastructural limitations and geographical location, our focus needs to be primarily on stayover air arrival tourism!


  4. Anonymous says:

    What we really need is an extension of the runway from a decade ago!!A proper DOT to have more contracts with South America,Europe and Asia.East Can go West and West go East depending on the distance and work with other airlines to make connecting flights.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It would also be nice to know what the spending trend is with the passengers that do arrive. We can have all the passengers we like but if they do not spend money it is worthless having them come here. It could even end up costing us to have them here with all the infrastructure needed.

    The ships are squeezing the operators to reduce excursion prices, promising numbers that never materialise and then on top of that we fight amongst ourselves to get our piece of the pie, cutting prices, stabbing backs, falling for the cruise lines lies and promises, while the cruise lines just sit back and rake in the dollars. They really do not give a rats behind about this little island or any other one for that matter!

    How much "spending" money do you think a person who has just laid out a whole $180 for a vacation has to leave on the island? At least now without the dock it is hard for them to get back to the ships for that free buffet bar at lunchtime so a few of the restuarants get a little business.

    Arrival numbers are meaningless unless we can get an idea of they are spending on the island. Sure the governement might get a few dollars for each passenger but the rest of the island relies on the passengers not only arriving but primarily on them spending money while they are here. My guess is the drop in spending is a whole lot more than 20%.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Would be nice to kno if the # are down due to certain cruise lines/ships not coming to Cayman (anymore/at all) due to the birthing facilities or are the ships simply not filled to capacity?? Above doesn't give conclusive information to make a judgement.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a global recession with arrival stats peaking in 2007 and have tapered off worldwide ever since.  The state of our island's infrastructure does not factor in to filling the rooms on board.  That decision is governed by price, and the major liners are still having difficulty filling all-inclusive 4 day cruises at under $180.  I doubt the liners are covering the price of fuel at that price.  Consider that at that price point, ourTshirts on sale downtown at $20 would be 10% of their all-inclusive 4 day fare!  Surely no quantity of these bodies will contribute measurably to Cayman's recovery.  Cayman should instead focus on serving the stayover guest and repeat visitor.  They are our bread and butter now.     

    • Anonymous says:

      The cruise industry is changing rapidly and Cayman is one of a number of destinations that simply doesn't fit the needs of the current market.

      Building a cruise terminal will not change that, it's time to move on and go back to where the real money is – stayover tourism at affordable prices – before it's too late.


  7. Anonymous says:

    Cruise numbers are down globally even with massive cruise enducements being offered by the liners (all inclusive 4 day Caribbean cruises are under $180).  Further evidence that we will not be drawing the right customers that way, and really don't need to increase our cruise ship capacity here right now.  Esp not at the expense of our environment or our national interests.  

    • Anonymous says:

      All we need is an extension of the dock.

      Done deal!

    • Anonymous says:

      Add that our cruise tourism is geographically impaired by its proximity to the Mayan Riviera.  Much diminished since recession of 2007 with 2009 Swine Flu outbreak and the ongoing cartel violence, many Americans are thinking twice about vacationing to Mexico, even from the relative safety of a 100,000 ton cruise ship.  Sadly in this part of the Western Caribbean, Cayman's and Jamaica's cruise line fates are tied to theirs.