GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, Tuesday January 29, 2019 – Following a rebound year for Caribbean travel with increased competition throughout the region, the Cayman Islands has maintained its market share with another year of record-breaking statistical arrivals.
At the end of 2018, total visits surpassed all previous years including 2006, which previously held the record for the highest number of total visitors in a calendar year.
Total arrivals for 2018 in both air and cruise visitation was 2,384,058, which is an 11.05 per cent increase over the same period in 2017 (237,211 additional persons). 463,001 stayover visitors, an increase of 10.66 per cent—an additional 44,598 visitors—over 2018, is a year of exciting ‘firsts’ for the destination. The Cayman Islands welcomed over 450,000 stayover visitors for the first time; and arrivals in 2018 represent the highest number of stayover visits for a calendar year in recorded history.
As a double accomplishment in ‘firsts’ over 50,000 stayover visitors travelled to the destination within a single month, happening twice in 2018: March and December.
The significant increase positively impacted the local economy with an uptick in visitor spend, increasing by US$98.1 million over 2017. The estimated total visitor spend in 2018 was US$880.1 million, an increase of 12.5 per cent.
Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said that through creative promotions, partnerships, and continued collaboration with industry stakeholders, his ministry has 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,” he said.
In 2018, the USA, Canada, and LATAM had the most impact on arrival numbers. Specifically, the countries with the largest impact on the overall performance in 2018 were: United States (13.01 per cent); Canada (7.46 per cent); Jamaica (7.63 per cent); Argentina (17.54 per cent); and Bermuda (21.1 per cent).
The month of December was the best on record, with a 6.15 per cent increase in stayover arrivals. As with the overall statistical increase, the US had the largest impact that month, having grown by over 2,600 additional visitors. This marks the 21st consecutive month of growth for this market.
Canada saw 3.3 per cent growth, making it the best December in statistical history for Canadian stayover visits. Adding to the success of December’s record-breaking numbers, Latin America also increased by 3.32 per cent and is now the best month in arrivals history for that region.
“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,” said Director of Tourism Rosa Harris.