Last Friday, we received the great news that we have all been waiting for. The Cayman Islands will be removing all COVID-19 travel regulations to the Cayman Islands.
Effective August 24, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to obtain permission from Travel Cayman to enter the islands and unvaccinated tourists will be able to come here without having to quarantine. Incoming passengers will no longer be required to provide their vaccination status. Visitors will no longer have to provide negative COVID-19 tests and masks are no longer required.
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan welcomed the lifting of the travel restrictions, saying it was “not just good news for travellers, it’s great news for our tourism industry, as we recover and rebuild after two-and-a-half years of COVID-related restrictions”.[i]
Many countries lifted their restrictions quite some time ago and although the Cayman Islands is seeing an increase in tourism since our borders opened, I am hoping that our delayed response to lifting travel restrictions has not hampered tourism in the future.
The reality is that many people have already planned their US Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays especially after not being able to travel freely for over two years. With Cayman’s regulations still being in place until August 24th it is not unrealistic to think that many people who plan tropical vacations during these times made plans to visit somewhere else.
As of today, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism has only released air visitor arrival statistics through May of 2022. From January through May 2022, we’ve had 88,010 total air arrivals compared to 502,739 in 2019 during the same period. This is an 82% decrease. It is not improbable to think that our air arrival numbers would be lower given that overall travel numbers are still down and many flights were slowly returning to the Cayman Islands during this period but other tropical destinations are faring much better.
The Turks and Caicos saw 138,762 air arrivals from January to March 2022. The 138,762 stopovers received in the first three months of 2022 were 98% of the 140,791 stopovers received in the first three months of 2019.[ii] That is only a 2% decrease compared to our 82% decrease.
The good news is that we are seeing more and more flights return to the Cayman Islands as well as new routes being added including the new Cayman Airways flight from Los Angeles to Grand Cayman which will undoubtedly open up the entire West coast of the United States and major Asian countries with direct inbound flights into LAX.
This latest announcement has been welcomed by all sectors of our economy but especially tourism. The Cayman Compass noted in an August 23, 2022 article that “airlines and hoteliers have reportedly seen a surge in bookings since the announcement [last] Friday.”[iii]
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, tourism has a direct effect on the real estate market in the Cayman Islands. People come to our islands, fall in love and decide they’d like to purchase real estate here as a second home, retirement location, investment opportunity or to relocate entirely.
We are pleased to fully welcome you back to our shores and look forward to helping you on your real estate journey here in the Cayman Islands. For any questions about this article or about purchasing real estate in our islands, please do not hesitate to contact us at +1 345 945 4000.