Tourism arrivals break new records


As published in the Cayman Compass

Cayman needs more hotel beds to accommodate the growing number of tourists flocking to these shores, according to tourism chiefs.

After record arrivals in 2014, the first quarter of 2015 has seen a further 5.7 percent increase in stay-over tourism.

A total of 45,476 tourists arrived in Cayman in March – the most ever in any single month. January and February 2015 were also record months, contributing to a total of 115,640 visitor arrivals in the first quarter, according to the Department of Tourism.

Both Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell and CITA president Ken Hydes have cautioned that the upward trajectory will begin to plateau over the next few years.

Mr. Kirkconnell told CITA members at their annual general meeting last week that more beds were needed.

But he said the future looked bright with several hotel projects in the pipeline, including the Kimpton Hotel on Seven Mile Beach and a proposed development at Beach Bay, Bodden Town.

In the meantime, tourism officials are targeting bigger-spending visitors from the Northeast region of the United States.

Director of Tourism Rosa Harris said, “It is another great, positive beginning to the year, and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2015. We are optimistic of the tourism performance, which is measured by the growth in air arrivals. The Northeast region of the U.S. continues to be our largest key market for visitation and our efforts to see wins from this market will continue throughout the year. We have excellent airline partners that service the Northeast and we feel there is more room for growth from this area.”

Cruise arrival numbers also increased marginally for the first quarter of 2015. Cruise visitation reached 544,073 in the first three months of this year compared to 543,017 compared to the same period last year.