(CNS): The variety of cruise passengers anticipated to go to the Cayman Islands in future years is predicted to drop considerably, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan mentioned following latest conferences with the cruise traces. With out a cruise berthing facility in George City, Carnival and Royal Caribbean are nonetheless refusing to tender their bigger ships, and as they enhance the variety of these mega vessels on this area, the variety of passengers calling will lower by round 50% by 2024.
Talking on the Cayman Islands Tourism Affiliation annual assembly on Thursday, Bryan, who has spent a lot of the final month on the street attending tourism-related occasions, up to date the non-public sector members on the sector usually.
Talking concerning the Florida Caribbean Cruise Affiliation (FCCA) Convention within the Dominican Republic earlier this month, he mentioned the bigger cruise traces had confirmed the seemingly lower in passengers they are going to be bringing subsequent yr and the yr after. Bryan mentioned it was unlucky, however “as a result of our lack of a walk-on, walk-off facility”, the bigger ships are unwilling to tender, largely due to the “time it takes to ferry passengers on and off the ships”.
However he harassed that the PACT Authorities wouldn’t go in opposition to the needs of the individuals and there can be no dock. As an alternative, he has been partaking with different cruise traces with smaller ships to encourage them to make extra calls over the yr. He mentioned discussions with traces working smaller ships with passengers which have larger spending energy have been encouraging and they’ll nonetheless be coming and even growing the variety of calls.
By 2024, the annual cruise customer numbers to Cayman can be round 746,000 as the key cruise traces lower calls to this vacation spot. Whereas that’s round half the variety of passengers seen on the peak of cruise tourism in 2019, the present tourism coverage is to give attention to the standard of friends somewhat than the quantity.
In a single day tourism is predicted to regularly return to pre-pandemic numbers, with friends predicted to spend extra when they’re right here throughout 2023, which would be the first full yr of each stay-over and cruise tourism.
Bryan mentioned he appreciated these centered on the cruise sector would wish to organize for the decline. He mentioned that by 2024, Royal Caribbean can be bringing 100,000 fewer cruisers than in 2019, and Carnival is chopping the variety of ships from 327 to 171 subsequent yr. Given the understanding of fewer cruise passengers however a rise in stay-over guests, he suggested enterprise house owners to “fine-tune” their operations and “be sensible with your small business choices”.
Within the meantime, he mentioned, his ministry had been in “encouraging” discussions with cruise traces working smaller ships with passengers with a better yield, reminiscent of MSC Cruises and Holland America, and that Cayman may “look ahead to their schedules being maintained and presumably growing within the close to future”.
However with airlift rising and market campaigns having the specified impact, the minister was extraordinarily optimistic concerning the enhance within the way more profitable in a single day market, which is already shaping as much as be one of the best winter season on document. “The projections point out that progress will proceed in 2023 and capability into the Cayman Islands will surpass 2019 numbers,” he mentioned.
Though American Airways and different US-based carriers can be flying fewer individuals right here throughout this coming winter season, the brand new Cayman Airways flight to LAX and different extra airways coming to Cayman, general airlift numbers are growing by about 1% in comparison with 2019.
Marc Langevin, the outgoing CITA president and supervisor of the Ritz-Carlton, mentioned that customer numbers are lastly again on monitor after the border closures. He mentioned the three massive lodges and different lodging sectors have been anticipating the final three months of this yr to be even higher than the record-breaking 2019 season. The tourism ministry’s goal for 2022 was 40% of the 2019 determine, which might equate to about 200,000 passengers and would simply be exceeded, officers have confirmed.