Tourism heading for another great year for visitors

| 15/11/2016 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): At the end of September almost 300,000 overnight guests had already visited Cayman this year, setting the tourism sector on track for another great year. Last year was the best year since the Department of Tourism began keeping official records and this year is likely to come very close to those numbers. Speaking at the Cayman Islands Tourism Showcase 2016, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell was optimistic, saying he believed that the numbers in 2016 will exceed the 385,378 guests that came to Cayman in 2015.

With recording breaking arrivals for June and July, Kirkconnell said the “tremendous growth” in the sector is continuing despite fierce competition.

He said the government had to keep the tourism momentum going as the economy is still heavily dependent on the sector, which provides some 12,000 jobs, or a quarter of the labour force. However, he did not state exactly how many locals are employed in the sector.

The growth in tourism figures for Cayman is largely down to the US market and the DoT grabbing a larger share of the travel market with the support of Cayman Airways and targeted gateways. With more guests comes the need for more rooms, and the minister pointed to the opening of the new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa and the Margaretville resort as important mile stones for the product this year.

But he also pointed to the development of the Ironwood golf resort and the proposed Beach Bay development as important elements in the product, both of which have been on the table for many years but have not evolved much past land clearing. He also spoke of the development by Health City Cayman Islands of a hotel in East End to support the hospital, though officials there recently revealed that they have shelved the plans to build a hotel and will be looking at the development of a small condo complex instead.

The minister also spoke about the progress on the enhancement of the airport, which, in contrast to the cruise port, has much broader support across the entire community. Kirkconnell also said that government was still contemplating the extension of the runway to accommodate larger aircraft.

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Category: Stay-over tourism, Tourism

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