Statistics released by the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau this week indicated visitor counts were still showing double digit increases from last year, yet below 2016 record levels.
According to the Chamber data, 56,217 people visited Catalina Island in February, which reflects an increase of approximately 18 percent over 2017. The total visitor counts for the year are 109,214.
Perhaps the largest Feb. increases were in the cross-channel carriers that delivered 51,622 visitors to the island, which is 58 percent of the total visitors to the island. The Feb. cross-channel traffic was a 29 percent year-over-year increase.
According to the Chamber, the Feb. cross-channel stats were on par with a 3-year average of 32,453 and below the previous record for the month of 39,162, recorded in 2016.
Cruise ships delivered 18,865 visitors to the island in February, which reflects a slight increase of 1.4 percent over last year and fell below the 3-year average of 19,787 and well below the record year of 2015 when cruise ships brought 22,504 visitors to the island.
In total, cruise ships delivered approximately one-third of visitors to Catalina.
Visitors aboard private boats totaled 1,996 in February, a significant increase of 218 percent over the previous year. The private boat total exceeded the 3-year average of 1,620 by 23 percent yet slightly below the record set in 2016 at 2,236 visitors.
According to the Chamber data, private boats were responsible for 3.55 percent of the February visitors to the island.
Visitors coming to the island by air were up a whopping 98 percent year-over-year, including 1,200 aboard private planes and 1,399 by helicopter. Combined, people by private aircraft (planes and helicopters) totaled 4.62 percent, signaling more people in February arrived on Catalina by air than via private boat.