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(CNS Business): While Cayman’s cruise ship arrival figures so far this year are showing a slight bump of 6.5% over the same period in 2011 (from 993,346 to 1,057,580), cruise arrivals in Jamaica are catching up, jumping 33.9 % to 937,343 during the period from January to August 2012, up from 700,137 visitors in 2011. Jamaica welcomed more than 1.1 million cruise passengers in 2011, a jump of 23.7% over 2010, the main contributing factor to the increase being the opening of the Falmouth pier in Trelawny in February 2011. In the 11 months that followed, the port of Falmouth hosted 110 cruise ship calls and was the entry point for 456,442 cruise ship passengers, or 40.6% of all passengers arriving in Jamaica.
That included 21 calls by Royal Caribbean’s mega cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, accounting for 125,023 passengers. Without a cruise pier in the Cayman Islands, the mega ships are unable to call, while the controversy over who will build the planned George Town cruise berthing facilities continues. (See links below)
Jamaica's Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill said last week that "destination Jamaica still has much appeal and with the recent extensive exposure the London Olympics provided, a fresh spark has been lit across the globe, renewing the curiosity towards and appeal of our people."
However, cruise passenger spending in Jamaica was dissappointing, at just $71.27 per person, which represents a drop of 20%, or $16 per passenger, the lowest in 10 years, according to the Jamaica Tourist Board's annual statistics.
According to statistics released by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, 86,325 cruise tourists visited Grand Cayman in August, which was a 9.3% improvement on the figure of 79,016 recorded August 2011, but since that was the lowest number of cruise arrivals at the port for August on record, the figure still tells a sorry story for George Town merchants.
Air arrivals in the Cayman Islands were 234,959 between the start of the year to the end of August, up from 226,470 in 2011, a rise of 3.7%.
However, August stay-over numbers for 2012 were the best since 2008 with 6.3% increase on 2011. According to the DoT statistics, 21,270 people flew into the Cayman Islands compared to 20,017 in August 2011, continuing the now solid trend of recovery in air arrivals.
Bush rejects port developers (April 2011)
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