The Cayman Islands Tourism Department recently released some figures that indicated tourist arrivals via airplane and visitors on cruise ships have increased in the the third quarter and for the overall year to date.
Many local businesses and tour operators are ramping up operations and hiring additional workers in anticipation of the official start of the tourism season set to begin with the annual Pirates Week festivities. Those that are keeping staff levels steady can be seen finishing up last second tasks, servicing and repairing equipment and generally “ramping up” for the coming influx of customers. “It’s the calm before the storm,” said one local George Town merchant, “everyone is getting ready for the high season”.
In the first 9 months of the year visitors arriving in the Cayman Islands via airplane increased by 296,000 persons compared to the same time period in the year prior. Cruise ship visitor arrivals increased by a noticeable 70,000 individuals to 1.3 million en total for the same time period. A Cayman Islands Tourism Association board member said recently that they were expecting a truly great tourism season. Waterfront businesses and restaurants are adding staff to assist with the incursion of new customers as the high season kicks off. The trends, as well, point to an increase of all types of vacationer across the board.
Airplane visitor arrivals saw a slower growth pattern last year and growth in that sector remains at, or near, a plateau level. Cruise shipper visits fared a bit better with a grand total of more than 1.7 million individualsin the last year, its highest mark since back in 2007. With Pirates Week kicking off in November it marks the official beginning to the tourist season as visitors to the Cayman Islands begin to arrive from northern nations,cities and towns to escape the winter cold and snowy forecasts.Theamount of cruise ships making berth in Grand Cayman will begin to increase as well. Many tourism businesses rely heavily on the high tourism season to make their income numbers for the rest of the year.
Some long-time locals on the island dislike the influx of people and what that connotes. Higher traffic, gluts of pedestrians in the capital of George Town and longer lines in the grocery stores are just some of the things that peeve some of Cayman’s population. One local remarked that her and her family “spend a great deal of our time in the winter at our place in East End”. Though not everyone meets this time of the year with a smile, the majority of people in the Cayman Islands welcome the cooler temperatures, increased business and new faces that accompany high season with open arms.