Stay-over Guests Spend Almost $½B in 2017
The Department of Tourism has revealed that the more than 418,000 stay-over visitors who came to the Cayman Islands last year spent almost half a billion US dollars during their trips and contributed US$31.5 million to the public purse in room tax. The guests’ estimated spend of US$498M was an increase of 15% on the money spent in 2016. Officials said that they are aiming to attract another record-breaking amount of overnight visitors in 2018, targeting 440,000 people, which would be a 5.2% increase on 2017, which was the most successful year in Cayman’s tourism history.
With stay-over visitor numbers for both January and February once again far exceeding historical numbers, 2018 is already on track for another successful year as the overnight sector exceeds all expectations. Meanwhile, the 1.7 million cruise passengers that landed in 2017 spent, collectively, around US$154 million while onshore (around $90 per head) compared to the near $1,200 per head spent by overnight guests.
The figures were revealed at a Cayman Islands Tourism Department strategy meeting of all its worldwide staff in Denver, Colorado. Discussions at the meeting included how to sustain the growth and the new infrastructure projects, such as the plans to award the contract for the cruise berthing facility in September.
Kirkconnell, who is also deputy premier, said that meeting the 2018 overnight guest targets would require “raising the bar” even more to attract “the right mix of visitors to give us the biggest return on our investments”. He said that would involve “thinking up more creative ways to manage visitor flows to flatten seasonal peaks and valleys”.
Tourism Director Rosa Harris noted at the Denver meeting, the Caribbean market is increasingly competitive and Cayman needs to be ever more innovative and strategic to stay ahead.
“We will continue to attract and retain visitation to the Cayman Islands by developing and implementing sustainable policies and initiatives in collaboration with all stakeholders for the benefit of our people,” she said.