CI Tourism Association President on 2019 outlook

Jan 10, 2019 Culture

January is peak season for visitors to Cayman. And, with festivals like Taste of Cayman and KAABOO on the horizon, the country's Tourism Association President told Cayman 27 that the future looked bright. With stay-over visitor numbers for 2018 up 11% on the year before, the tourism and hospitality industries on island are booming. But according to CITA President Theresa Leacock-Broderick, this is the time for hotels to capitalise. "From the time the Christmas season starts, until the month of March, you have numbers in the high nineties: 99%, 100% occupancy. In the summer months you may be 80% and in some cases: 60%," Ms. Leacock-Broderick said. She went on to explain: "it'll vary. September/October you'll have very low numbers in occupancy; there's tremendous variance in key months of the year." She added that both public and private sector were working hard to flatten out those peaks and troughs, so it is not feast or famine for hotels and restaurants. Ms. Leacock-Broderick also stressed the industry was innovating and not resting on its laurels. "We have lots of new product coming along, new experiences, a lot of entrepreneurs, we have things happening in wellness, cycle, bicycle rides, so much to offer at this point," she listed. And, surely festivals like Taste of Cayman and KAABOO will help boost those numbers? Well, not quite. The CITA President said that relationship is more symbiotic: "For a number of years we've enjoyed high season, high occupancy for us, so these events just really add to the opportunity. It works together," she clarified, adding: "people who come here for a number of things, this is an added benefit. But those festivals also attract a lot of people, they specifically choose these time of years to come." Testament to the diversity of Cayman, she said the key to success was the breadth of experience here, for tourist and locals alike. "We have a very good depth and width to everything we do, from fine dining to our food trucks and jerk chicken stands. There's something for everyone," she promised. Those latest figures from the Department of Tourism showed the first eleven months of 2018 saw over 400,000 visitors, which is the highest number since records began.