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Airbnb proving an avenue for participation in stayover tourism growth

Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell says airlift and room stock are two key ingredients fueling stay-over growth. More than 418,000 arrivals led Cayman into record-breaking territory for 2017.

Thanks to a popular travel website, these coveted stay-over guests have an increasing array of places to stay.

Tourism officials had plenty reasons to smile upon releasing 2017’s official tourism statistics at a Thursday (January 11) press conference. With an 8.5% percent increase in stay over tourism accounting for a robust $55 million dollars more in economic impact over 2016.

Minister Kirkconnell said vacation rental sites like Airbnb are providing an avenue for almost anyone to actively participate in that tourism success.

“We have some real opportunities here and we are very very pleased that the growth is on a scale that allows people to get involved,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

And one of the ways deputy premier and tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell says the strong stay-over tourism growth is finding its way into Cayman’s economy is through vacation rental sites like Airbnb…

“Certainly when you scale them, the private villas are a daily rate that attracts a very wanting traveler to bring their family to enjoy a very exclusive type of vacation,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

Take a look at this… A quick Airbnb search brought up more than 300 accommodation options…From Grand Cayman to Little Cayman and even on Cayman Brac.

A house on South Sound will set you and nine bedrooms worth of your family and friends back just shy of $2,000 a night.

On the other end of the scale, a couch in West Bay can be yours, with kitchen and bathroom privileges, for less than fifty bucks.

Tourism director Rosa Harris says making sure these sites live up to a high “Cayman kind” standard is crucial, “It’s a three inspection process, with fire, DEH, and DOT, we ensure that there is a minimum standard that is met and the properties are able to qualify for a hotel license.”

“Just because there’s not a hotel there, doesn’t mean there is not a lot of visitation,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

Mr. Kirkconnell says the abundance and variety of vacation rental offerings has helped spread the benefits of the stay-over spend and pad the country’s room stock.

“Now the east end of Cayman Brac and Spot Bay a vacation rental by owner and Airbnb is offering rooms and houses to stay in, and that goes all the way to East End, North Side,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

Cayman 27 reached out to the Department of Tourism for info on the number of properties that have met approval from the hotel licensing board. That information was not immediately available but we’ve been told wheels are in motion to get those figures.

Back in 2015 a government estimate pegged the number of people using these sites without licensing at more than 100.

The license is $250 dollars plus monthly taxes, and without it you could face penalties of $100 per day per guest.

If you want to get involved with the vacation rental market, Ms. Harris says the licensing process is relatively simple, with three inspections: fire, DEH, and DOT.


About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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