Record-breaking arrivals for 2017 in both air and cruise visitation marked the best year ever for tourism in the Cayman Islands. A total of 418,403 stayover visitors – up 8.5% over 2016 -- and 1,728,444 cruisers visited the islands. U.S. visitors were up 13.4%, while there were 6.4% more Canadian arrivals.
For the seventh consecutive month (June through December), air arrivals surpassed all previously recorded statistics. A total of 49,003 stayover visitors arrived in December, an increase of 21.6% over December 2016; and an increase of 20.8% over December 2014, which was previously the best December in Cayman Islands tourism history.
December increases were fuelled by growth from North America. Key markets such as the United States and Canada, which saw increases of 27.4% and 22.7% respectively over 2016; represented the highest standout growth.
“Through strategic marketing initiatives from the Department of Tourism and strong, cohesive relationships with our tourism partners, together we have been able to achieve unprecedented growth in arrivals to the Cayman Islands in 2017,” said Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism.
“I am pleased to see that our efforts to diversify the Cayman Islands source markets such as Canada coupled with our global teams’ drive to be fearless innovators in destination marketing have taken visitation volume to its highest levels the destination has experienced.”
Looking ahead to 2018, the Cayman Islands views new lift as a catalyst for driving Canadian and overall international visitation. On 15DEC, Air Canada began servicing the destination with six non-stop flights per week through 2APR.
“With increased seats available, travellers have more opportunities to select their preferred airline itinerary,” said Harris. The Cayman Islands will offer over 10 non-stop flight options, this is an excellent opening to 2018 for all stakeholders in the Cayman Islands tourism industry.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.