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Brexit impact is unpredictable, says tourism minister

| 27/06/2016 | 2 Comments
Cayman News Service

Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS Business): Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has said it is too early to say how Britain’s exit from the European Union will impact the Cayman Islands’ tourism statistics, which after years of continuing growth are showing signs of decline due to the Zika outbreak. He said the United Kingdom and Continental Europe account for around 9% of Cayman’s annual stay-over visitors and, along with Canada, they are significant secondary source markets.

In  statement released Monday, Kirkconnell said, “The impact on the Cayman Islands Tourism industry is unpredictable and considering the anticipated length of time for the United Kingdom to successfully exit the European Union, the impact will not be immediate to the Cayman Islands.”

He added, “It would be irresponsible of my ministry to make any further statement on potential impact. The Ministry and Department of Tourism are closely monitoring the situation and when there are clear indicators of potential impact to our tourism industry, we will ensure that strategies are appropriately designed to support this evolving situation.”

Deputy Premier Kirkconnell said the Cayman Islands acknowledged “the connection through sovereignty and business relations that underpin the Cayman Islands stability and tourism performance”.

With two years of exit negotiations still to go the longer term impact on the pound and global markets remains unknown, but Kirkconnell said it was predicted that the volatility on the markets since the Brexit vote would stabilise.

Tourism officials revealed only recently that the spread of Zika in the Caribbean was already having a negative impact on tourism figures, even before Cayman had recorded any confirmed cases. Four test results in suspected cases in Cayman have now been sent to Trinidad and local officials are awaiting the results.

Speaking in the LA on 17 June, Tourism Director Rosa Harris said stay-over numbers had dropped compared to last year for the first four months of 2016 because of the disease, which is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Stay-over numbers from January until the end of April fell from 151,657 last year to 147,342 this year, a decline of some 2.8%. Figures released last week for the May arrivals also saw a drop of more than 400 visitors from last year.

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Category: Tourism

Comments (2)

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  1. thomas says:

    How can the DoT possibly attribute the Zika outbreak as the definitive reason for the decline? Have they done any empirical research?

    • What is predictable is that there will be a significant drop in British and European tourists to the Caribbean as the pound drops dramatically and stays low for the next year and the EURO is on par with the American dollar.

      Cayman will be just too expensive for the Brtiish and Europeans.

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