Last updated: 02:15 PM ET, Wed June 10 2015

Cayman Islands Tourism Growing Despite Obstacles

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | June 10, 2015

Cayman Islands Tourism Growing Despite Obstacles

PHOTO: The Cayman Islands is one of the world’s preeminent dive destinations. (Photo courtesy of Department of Tourism)

The Cayman Islands’ Owen Roberts International Airport is outdated and prone to overcrowding. The country lacks a modern cruise ship terminal, forcing passengers to ferry in from ships anchored offshore. And yet none of those factors have stalled the destination’s growing tourist arrivals.

Air arrivals into the country totaled 151,657 travelers in the first four months of 2015, a 4.4 percent increase over the 145,270 passengers who arrived during the same period in 2014, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism reports.

The Cayman Islands’ cruise ship passenger arrivals between January and April of this year were also higher, totaling 719,298, a 6.14 percent increase over the 677,663 cruise arrivals recorded during the same period last year.

Cayman Islands tourist arrivals surged in 2014 even as the nation struggled with frequent overcrowding at outdated Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) and the absence of a modern cruise ship terminal. The Cayman Islands hosted 382,816 air arrivals last year, a 10.8 percent increase over 2013 and the country’s highest figure since 2000, according to Department of Tourism officials.

“I am very pleased to see the continued successes of our destination maintaining a competitive level of growth that will undoubtedly set us on the right path to end the year positively,” said Rosa Harris, the Cayman Islands’ director of tourism.

“The ongoing mission of the Cayman Islands is to keep the destination at the forefront of the mind of today’s savvy traveler, which requires a constant evaluation and review from a strategic level,” said Moses Kirkconnell, the Cayman Islands’ deputy premier and minister of tourism.

Earlier this year Cayman Islands government unveiled issued concept designs for a $55 million renovation of ORIA. The government selected Florida based RS&H Group in January to provide design and construction services following a competitive bidding process.

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