The Cayman Islands is experiencing what media reports describe as ‘spin-off benefits’ from the hurricanes that devastated major tourist destinations like the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The BVI was battered by two category 5 hurricanes which left its tourism industry shattered.
This allowed Cayman to scoop up visitors who were heading for the BVI and other affected destinations.
According to the Cayman media, several cruise lines diverted ships to the Cayman from these hurricane-impacted countries.
This week alone, Cayman welcomed nearly 20,000 visitors to its shores.
Cayman authorities predict that the country will receive roughly 70 additional cruise ships and more than 250,000 extra tourists before the year ends; thanks to hurricanes Irma and Maria which paralyzed their tourism rivals, such as the BVI.
BVI tourism rebounding
BVI tourism, however, has already started to see relatively early signs of a comeback. The territory yesterday welcomed a cruise ship from SeaDream Yacht Club – one of the first to return to the BVI since the hurricanes.
The vessel which has a guest capacity of 112 is said to have sailed to more than one of the main islands.
Meanwhile, the BVI was impacted by the hurricanes at a time when it was experiencing a boom in tourism.
But the hurricanes caused severe and widespread damage to public and private properties, accommodations, and other parts of the tourism sector. Tourism is the territory’s second largest revenue-earner.
Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr D Orlando Smith said the BVI has lost more than $16 million in revenues since Hurricane Irma smashed into the territory on September 6.
Initial estimates of overall damage from the hurricanes is well over $3 billion.
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