Stayover arrivals break the 500,000 milestone
The Cayman Islands ended 2019 with record-breaking air arrivals, highlighting another year of steady growth in airlift and accommodations.
For the calendar year 2019, air arrivals reached 502,739 which represents an 8.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2018—or 39,738 additional persons. This is the highest number of stayover visits in recorded history (surpassing Jan-Dec 2018).
Overall, the top source markets for stayover arrivals continued their impressive growth with an increase in arrivals from the United States (33,293 more visitors than 2018), Canada (3,525 more visitors than 2018), and United Kingdom (829 more visitors than 2018).
According to statistics provided by Cayman Airways, Cayman Brac arrivals—which includes both visitors and residents—were up seven percent, approximately 4,350 more passengers in 2019 as compared to 2018 and totalled 62,911 passengers in 2019 – a new record for this route. For Little Cayman, there was also a new record in arrivals of visitors and residents, with 30,537 passengers – most arrivals ever.
The significant growth of visitation for all three islands maintained an upward trajectory over the past five years. In 2015 the destination welcomed 385,378 stayover visitors, and in 2019 there were 502,739 which equates to growth of 30.5 per cent or 117,361 guests. For the first time in Cayman’s history, three months in one calendar year peaked at over 50,000 stayover guests visiting our shores—March, July, and December 2019. Overall, except for September 2019, the country broke previous arrival records for 11 months out of 12.
Reflecting on the positive impact that this growth in stayover arrivals has created, the Honourable Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell shared, “Since I began my duties as the Minister for Tourism, it has been my government’s intention that through tourism initiatives we would create positive impacts across all three islands that improve the lives of Caymanian families. We know that tourism provides many opportunities—from entrepreneurship to sharing of our culture—that empower our people to thrive professionally and personally. This has been our focus for the past five years and will continue to be a top priority for us going forward.”
Acknowledging the work of the Department of Tourism, Cayman Airways and the many tourism stakeholders, the Hon Minister said, “A few years ago, my government and I challenged the Department of Tourism and our stakeholders to reach new markets and create growth opportunities for our tourism sector. The numbers speak for themselves—over 502,000 people chose our home—a humble three island trio with so much to offer—to make their dreams a reality by coming to the Cayman Islands. The Department of Tourism rose to that challenge through a variety of tactical and creative means, and we all should be proud of this amazing outcome.”