Record-setting arrivals for Cayman Islands

Record-setting arrivals for Cayman Islands

GRAND CAYMAN — More than 2.1 million visitors arrived in the Cayman Islands in 2015, an increase of 5.51%.

The destination welcomed 385,379 air arrivals, a 0.67% increase over 2014, and 1,716,812 cruise arrivals, a 6.66% increase. These numbers mark the highest recorded air arrivals for the Cayman Islands and best cruise arrival figures since 2007.

“The continued success of our tourism sector means that more Caymanians are able to positively impact our visitors’ experiences while maintaining a livelihood in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell. “Together the Ministry and Department of Tourism actively advanced efforts to educate and train persons within our community to be confident Caymankind ambassadors throughout 2015.  Whether it was through the PRIDE program, hospitality school, developing a tourism-infused curriculum in primary schools or granting of scholarships, we know that it is the Caymanian people who make our destination so special and create those lasting memories for our valued visitors.”

The long-awaited start of the expansion project at Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) began in March 2015 and is expected to be complete in three years. The first area of construction is the departure terminal.

“The improvements at the airport, along with other infrastructure projects currently in progress, will make our tourism marketplace even more appealing for our visitors as product enhancements, including numerous hotel developments, continue to come on line,” said Chief Officer for the Ministry, Stran Bodden. “Ensuring that the Cayman Islands are able to provide the highest quality in both service and product will continue to be a top priority for all of us in tourism.”

Part of that service equation is the development of a national public transport strategy as tourism continues to grow, Bodden added.

The Public Transportation Board is working to improve bus routes to address congestion issues on the road and to feed the demand for drivers at the airport.

On the hotel front, renovations began in fall 2015 for the Sister Islands property, Brac Reef Resort.  The newly-designed property will celebrate its official relaunch on Jan. 15 under its new name. Cayman Brac Beach Resort.

The Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa continued its scheduled construction throughout the year, staying on track to meet its anticipated completion date in fall 2016.  The resort will increase room stock in Grand Cayman by 266, along with an additional 62 residential suites.

In other hotel news, plans continue to progress for the five-star Dart hotel along the Seven Mile Beach corridor. Luxury boutique L’Soleil d’Or, Cayman Brac, continued to welcome guests while moving forward with expansion of the site to include a gym, beach side spa and cabana. Announcement of a new 200-room luxury resort, St. James Point, to be built in Bodden Town, will further increase accommodations offerings. There was also the sale of Treasure Island Resort and announcement of plans to develop the property into a Margaritaville-brand resort.

And Health City continued to progress its plans for an onsite hotel that will further enhance destination healthcare in the Cayman Islands.

“The continued interest by developers to invest in the Cayman Islands is a good indication that we are a country destined to grow,” said Rosa Harris, Director of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. “Our successful partnerships with the private sector, along with the ongoing strategic marketing efforts of the department, will help us to move along the steady path for increased visitation in the years to come. This is an exciting time for the Cayman Islands.”