High season, tourism, and real estate

Buying & Selling, Featured, News

As we welcome back thousands of visitors to our islands this U.S. Thanksgiving long weekend, I thought I’d take this opportunity to discuss the importance of high season and how if effects the Cayman Islands real estate market as well as explore some recent tourism statistics and showcase the number of flights heading to our tropical islands.

On November 8th Travel and Leisure announced that the Cayman Islands is the number one trending destination for U.S. travelers.

“It appears Americans want something different out of vacation this year. Asia is out, as is Europe. Instead, Americans are looking for white sand beaches, tropical climates, and low-stress holidays closer to home. According to Skyscanner, which examined user travel searches over the course of a year, six of the top 10 trending destinations are island hot spots, with the Cayman Islands coming out on top.”[i]

The Cayman Islands, which saw a 483 percent increase in searches from the same time period the year prior, was the notable standout.[ii]

Flights into the Cayman Islands

Over the last few months flights into Cayman have been ramping up as we are now launching into high season.

Cayman Airways will resume its seasonal service to Denver beginning December 16, 2023, and launched its second weekly flight to Los Angeles in November.

Delta Airlines recently launched a new flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul, which will start on February 17, 2024. “The flight is the second from Minnesota, joining low-cost carrier Sun Country Airlines, which launched service to Grand Cayman in December 2022.”[iii]

Southwest Airlines will be shifting its service from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando in June 2024 and plans to relaunch its Baltimore route as well in June 2024.

The current inbound flights are quite extensive. In addition to the above flights, for high season this year, Delta is flying in from Atlanta daily, JetBlue flies in from Boston once a week, American flies in from Charlotte twice a day, and American flies in from Chicago once a week and United flies in twice a week.

Additionally, American flies in from Dallas weekly, United flies in twice a week from Houston, both American and Cayman Airways fly from Miami twice a day, Cayman Airways flights from New York three times a week, and United and JetBlue fly in daily from the Big Apple.

American comes in from Philadelphia once a week, Cayman Airways flies in from Tampa five times a week and United flies in four times a week from Washington, DC.

With respect to other destinations, British Airways is flying from London up to 5 times a week and there are between four and five weekly arrives from Toronto, Canada from Air Canada, and WestJet.

Travel statistics

According to the Cayman Islands official tourism website, which is reporting statistics through September 2023, more than 323,038 stay-over visitors have arrived in the Cayman Islands this year. 84% were from the U.S., 6.4% were from Canada, 4.4% are from Europe, 4.4% are from Latin America and the balance are from the rest of the world.

For the U.S., the top states visiting our islands are Texas (12%), New York, (10%), Florida (9%), New Jersey (5%) and California (4%).

Stay-over visits showed a 79% increase from 2022 and a 16% decrease from 2019 levels, which was a record-setting year. This is great news as our islands only welcomed 284,274 stay-over visitors for the entire 2022 year and signals a very robust rest of the year.

Additionally, based on Q4 2023 airline schedules, inbound seat availability is projected to reach 99% of pre-pandemic levels.

The average length of stay is up to 6 nights which is the same as 2019 (pre-pandemic numbers). 43.6% are repeat visitors and 56.4% are first time visitors. It’s nice to welcome to many repeat visitors, but it is great to see so many first-time visitors as well.

Tourism and real estate

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles tourism and Cayman Islands real estate are strongly connected. As noted above, 43.6% of our visitors are repeat visitors. They come to our islands, fall in love, and make additional trips in the future.

Many of these visitors decide to purchase Cayman Islands real estate be it a home they can relocate to or live in part of the year, a vacation home, or an investment. As more and more visitors continue to return to our islands, some of them for the first time, more and more people will be interested in buying their own slice of paradise.

As the numbers of people visiting our islands gets stronger especially this high season, the number of people interested in buying Cayman Islands real estate here will also increase.

Although some buyers buy “sight unseen” the reality is that most foreign buyers visit Cayman first before deciding to buy and in fact many are here on holiday and start investigating real estate options while they are down visiting.

I’m already having potential buyers reach out prior to arriving who are interested in purchasing Cayman Islands real estate.

As always, my team and I are here to help with any questions you may have about Cayman Islands real estate from new developments to land to build your dream home to finding the right mortgage to the best place for jerk chicken and everything in between. Visit our website or contact us at +1 345 945 4000.

[i] Travel and Leisure, November 8, 2023
[ii] Travel and Leisure, November 8, 2023
[iii] Cayman Compass, October 30, 2023