GEORGE TOWN, Cayman
Islands -- Expanded airlift, hotel developments and a year-round
agent incentive program are expected to boost Cayman Islands high
season visitor numbers, according to tourism officials.
Already this year,
the visitor numbers look very good, back to pre-9/11 levels, said
McKeeva Bush, minister of tourism.
June tourism figures
released by the Department of Tourism indicate a 9% increase in air
arrivals and a 10.4% increase in cruise arrivals compared with June
2003. Both air and cruise arrival figures for every month of 2004
have surpassed every month of 2003.
For the first half of
the year, air arrivals increased 12.7% over 2003, to a total of
181,254 stayover visitors. Cruise volume for the first six months
came to 1.06 million passengers, more than the number that arrived
by sea during all of 2000.
On the airlift front,
Cayman Airways will expand its network with the launch of 737
nonstop, weekend service from Boston to Grand Cayman on Oct. 29.
Through April 2, flights will depart Boston on Saturdays and
Sundays at 8:45 a.m., arriving in Grand Cayman at 1:05
The introductory fare
starts at $299 roundtrip to Grand Cayman and at $349 roundtrip to
Cayman Brac and Little Cayman (with connections through Grand
Developments on the
hotel scene include the November reopening of the renovated,
28-unit Meridian resort on Seven Mile Beach. New facilities include
a pool and a fitness center.
The 343-room Westin
Casuarina Resort & Spa on Seven Mile Beach completed a $5
million expansion and renovation project that included the addition
of a 7,000-square-foot spa and a 5,500-square-foot
Grand Cayman, a $400 million project now scheduled for a December
opening, reported a lot of interest when its reservations lines
opened last month, according to a hotel official.
property, which stretches from Seven Mile Beach across to North
Sound, encompasses 365 rooms and suites and 69 private
Expanded airlift and
new and renovated properties give agents more reasons than ever
before to sell the Cayman Islands, a tourism official
An added incentive
could be the Travel Agent Rewards Program, which rewards the
top-selling agent each month with a $500 bonus and another $500 for
the agency. The next nine highest-selling agents win $100 and
another $100 for their agencies.
Through June, Cayman
Rewards paid out more than $13,000 to 45 agents and agencies. Since
the program started two years ago, more than $50,000 has been paid
Appreciation rates, which offer discounted prices on a
space-available basis, are in effect at 13 resorts. These comprise the Reef, Turtle Nest Inn, the Retreat,
Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman, Plantana Condominiums, Sunset House,
Cobalt Coast, Comfort Suites, Treasure Island Resort, Island Pines,
Indies Suites, Victoria House and the Westin Casuarina Resort &
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].