By Dana Niland
New hotels, new eateries, new flights — and record-breaking growth.
Cayman Islands tourism is surging right now, according to the latest numbers from the destination’s Department of Tourism.
Indeed, the Cayman Islands reported 145,804 stayover visitor arrivals in the first quarter of 2019, a sizable 8.67 percent jump over the same period in 2018 and a new record for the first three months of the year.
That comes as the destination welcomed 59,563 stayover visitors in March, which was itself an 8.37 percent jump over March 2018 — and the best month for stayover visitors in Cayman’s history.
“The Cayman Islands should be proud of its record-breaking stayover performance in the first quarter of 2019,” said Cayman Islands Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell. “As a Ministry and Department of Tourism, we are committed to developing innovative and authentic strategies for attracting travelers from key source markets. The recent launch of the USA focused Dream in Cayman campaign pushes the boundaries of destination advertising and I look forward to evaluating the results of the campaign in the months to come.”
The growth comes as Cayman continues to position itself as one of the hottest tourism markets in the wider Caribbean, including a hotel sector that has an impressive pipeline of new developments from Mandarin Oriental’s second Caribbean hotel to a just-announced Hilton project.
That’s along with strong growth in new airlift, from Cayman Airways’ new route from Denver, Colo. to Grand Cayman to new flights like Southwest Airlines’ Baltimore/Washington-Cayman route.
All of those flights are now arriving at Cayman’s brand-new international airport, which made its debut last month with a high-profile visit from Prince Charles.