Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Air arrivals soaring to new heights

| 29/01/2015 | 4 Comments

(CNS Business): With 382,816 visitors to the Cayman Islands in 2014, the tourism industry is celebrating yet another record-breaking year. Statistics from the Department of Tourism reveal an almost 11% increase over 2013, which was also a record breaker. The arrival figures for 2014 are the best since records began in 2000 and demonstrate a massive success for DoT’s marketing campaigns.

Tourism officials said it was “consistency in delivering excellence and a commitment to providing Cayman kind experiences” that had led to yet another great year for overnight tourism. The stay-over figures were accompanied news of a leap in cruise tourism for 2014 as well, with an almost 17% increase in passengers calling on George Town compared to 2013.

More than 40,568 visitors came to the Cayman Islands to stay during December, the best year-end month on record, with the exception of an unprecedented 41,558 people who visited Cayman in March 2001, the only month over the last 15 years where more than 40,00 people visited.

“It has been a wonderful experience throughout 2014 to witness the success of tourism businesses continuing to climb throughout the year,” said Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell. “Hotels recorded exceptional occupancy, taxi drivers were consistently busy, and we have seen growth throughout the sector,” he added.  “We know that this success comes from our continued commitment to partnerships with private sector entities, the diligent work of this government, the Department of Tourism and the unique approaches implemented throughout the year to an integrated strategic plan.”

The tourism department was active in key cities such as New York City, London and Toronto, Tourism Director Rosa Harris said as she spoke about the promotion of the Cayman Islands to a global audience.

“One fun initiative over the summer was taking Stingray City to the streets of London using a 3D chalk art simulation. We received such positive reactions from people who stopped by to ‘kiss a ray’ and learn about the destination in an unexpected way. We look forward to more creative initiatives in 2015 and further raising the awareness of the Cayman Islands as a leading destination in the Caribbean for discerning travellers,” she said.

The Cayman Islands ranks in the top five of Caribbean destinations visited by cruise passengers and officials are still hoping the planned cruise berthing facilities in George Town will eventually push Cayman further up that list. The cruise berthing project is seen as crucial to grow the cruise tourism sector of the economy and to increase job creation and opportunities for small business development.

However, for many the improvements at the airport are more pressing and more significant. Chief Officer Stran Bodden said the ministry would continue to focus on the main points of entry and transportation.

On top of the record-breaking number of visitors, the World Travel Awards named the Cayman Islands the 2014 World’s Leading Destination. Caribbean Journal lauded the country as Destination of the Year. Niche travel areas such as the dive industry won a number of awards throughout the year, including twelve placements in Top Five or better in the Scuba Diving magazine’s coveted Top 100 Readers Choice Awards. The four first place positions earned were for the categories: Best Overall Diving; Best Underwater Photography; Best Marine Environment; and Best Wall Diving.

“It is an important reminder for us all that tourism is something we all participate in when living in the Cayman Islands. It is up to each of us to preserve the environment to continue to earn such esteemed accolades in ecotourism, it’s important for us to put forth the spirit of Caymankind in all we do whether we work in the tourism industry specifically or not, and we must continue to be innovative in how we reach our audience,” Kirkconnell said. “I am looking forward to seeing how far we can go in 2015 and beyond.”

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Category: Cruise Tourism, Stay-over tourism, Tourism

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pleas let us not forget the many Taxi and Bus drivers that take cruise ship tourist also. They don’t see any ads in the media. Their first experience blows their mind because they truly see the difference by traveling across the caribbean.
    Even tho there may be crime here they don’t see it like in other countries. Why ? The police don’t carry guns. They don’t like the prices of food and liquor but they will go to the grocery store or buy liquor in the outlets. So that won’t keep them away. What they get is the friendliness of the people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Promotions should also be done in countries far away such as in Asia which have several wealthy people. Visas requirements could be relaxed for some of these countries for short term visits in order to improve global tourists visiting our shores.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! Is it just me or does the meat of this article seem to suggest the Department of Tourism seems to be patting themselves on the back for being the sole promoters of the Cayman Islands?

    How about a story lauding the COMBINED efforts of the many different contributers to the tourism sector? The people who spend hours upon hours on various social media and news outlets touting their business with tantalizing pictures, stories and experiences? More about the return business that comes directly from the people on the ground, front of the house and back of the house, making sure that guests enjoy their time and tell even more people when they go home! It bears repeating, the “massive success” is the result of the COMBINED effort of many, many people capturing the attention of possible vacation go-ers, and then many more people holding that attention during their visit, and then remaining in their happy memories as they return home. BIG CONGRATULATIONS to all of the businesses out there hustling to get people to visit and return to the Cayman Islands! You’ve done yourselves PROUD!!! Way to GO! 🙂

    These are tough, tough times and they are getting worse. Cayman is over priced and looking shabby. Crime is cresting to an all time high with people saying they won’t come when innocent by standers are being shot in West Bay and visitors are being robbed in restaurants. Cuba is opening up. The Canadian dollar has plummeted. The Euro is precarious with the Greece bail out. The reefs are dying. The news stories circulating about the way the Government handles themselves depict a barbarian Banana Republic at best. I predict that the Cayman Islands will have to hunker down to weather to storms that are brewing in 2015.

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