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TORONTO — The Cayman Islands is seeing significant growth in tourist arrivals from Canada, with visitation up 6.37% in 2017.
The destination saw record-breaking arrivals in both air and cruise visitation, representing the best year on record with a total of 418,403 stayover visitors (+8.55% over 2016), and 1,728,444 cruisers. U.S. visitors also saw an uptick last year, with a growth rate of 13.44%.
For the seventh straight year (June through December), air arrivals surpassed all previously recorded statistics. A total of 49,003 stayover visitors arrived in December, an increase of 21.61% over December 2016 and up 20.8% over December 2014, which held the previous record for best ranked December in recorded history.
According to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, December increases were fuelled by growth predominantly in North America, namely the U.S. and Canada, which saw increases of 27.43% and 22.71%, respectively, over 2016. These two markets represent the highest standout growth.
“The performance of the country’s tourism sector and all who played a role in attracting more visitors to the destination should be extraordinarily proud of their efforts,” said Moses Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism. “It is the mandate of the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate annual growth in visitation; however, it is a collective effort that makes it a success. I encourage all of us in the tourism industry and its auxiliary partners to use this accomplishment as a springboard for even greater success in 2018.”
Last year’s success can be attributed to a diversified marketing plan that increased brand awareness on a global scale. Key initiatives launched in 2017 included the ‘Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee’, which gave travellers peace of mind during one of the most active hurricane seasons for the Caribbean to date.
Looking ahead to 2018, tourism numbers are expected to remain on an upward trend thanks to increased air capacity from carriers like Air Canada, which launched six nonstop flights per week on Dec. 15, 2017, to run through April 2, 2018. Aviation, says the Department of Tourism, is a catalyst for driving Canadian and overall international visitation.
“The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and our island partners in Grand Cayman are absolutely delighted with the expanded service and the impact this has had and will continue to have on driving tourism to the destination,” said Raymond Mathias, Business Development Manager for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. This added lift will boost both leisure and business travel to the destination as we continue to build on the growth we’ve already seen in 2017.”