GRAND CAYMAN — The Cayman Islands has maintained its market share with another year of record-breaking arrivals, including a 7% increase from Canada.
At the close of 2018, total visitation surpassed all previous years of recorded visitation including 2006, which previously held the record for the highest number of total visitors in a calendar year, according to the latest figures from the Department of Tourism.
Total arrivals for 2018 in both air and cruise visitation was 2,384,058, an 11.05% increase over the same period in 2017. There were some 463,001 stayover visitors, an increase of 10.66% over 2018. This year marked the first time that the islands welcomed more than 450,000 stayover visitors.
As a double accomplishment in ‘firsts’, over 50,000 stayover visitors travelled to the destination within a single month, in March 2018 and again in December 2018.
The increase in visitation also positively impacted the local economy with an uptick in visitor spend, increasing by US$98.1 million versus 2017. The estimated total visitor spend in 2018 was US$880.1 million, an increase of 12.5%.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said: “The mandate of the Ministry and Department of Tourism is to facilitate annual growth in visitation and economic contribution; my Ministry pursues this strategically each year. Through creative promotions, partnerships, and continued collaboration with our industry stakeholders, we have maintained the significant accomplishment of continuous record-breaking years. Our government has committed to investment in our points of entry at the Cruise Port and Airports. These much-needed upgrades will benefit of tourism operators, businesses, visitors and residents. My focus is to ensure that all subjects in my ministry portfolio operate efficiently and effectively to support the tourism sector. These results are an excellent indicator of the work accomplished in 2018.”
The U.S., Canada and LATAM all had the biggest impact on arrival numbers, he adds. The countries with the largest impact on the overall performance in 2018 were:
- United States: 13.01%
- Canada: 7.46%
- Jamaica: 7.63%
- Argentina: 17.54%
- Bermuda: 21.10%
In December 2018 alone Canada saw a 3.3% growth making it the best December in statistical history for Canadian stayover visitation.
“The Department of Tourism goal of source market diversification coupled with the ongoing development of new routes to the destination and innovative marketing plans has continued to drive the record-breaking successes for the Cayman Islands and will continue in 2019,” says Director of Tourism Rosa Harris. “I would like to express my sincere thanks to all tourism partners for participating in our destination marketing campaigns, hosting of our visitors, journalists and travel agents in order to entertain, educate and transport the Cayman Islands brand worldwide.”
For more stats see caymanislands.ky/statistics.