Visitor counts up overall in January

A rainbow appears above a cruise ship in Avalon Bay. Photo by Jennifer Hartinger

More than 50,000 visitors arrived on Catalina Island in January, which the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau said was up more than 20 percent over 2017.

Statistics released this week by the Chamber indicate that year-over year, total in-bound traffic, combined cruise ship, private craft and cross-channel crossings total 52,062 people, up 23.7 per cent over 2017.

Cruise ship numbers did show a slight decline over last year, however, as 21,320 people stepped onto the island from ships which reflected a decrease of 12.4 percent decrease over last year. “Given a number of cancellations due to wind events, we often have cruise ship variations in January and February,” said Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau.

“We don’t think the deviation will have any overall impact on our yearly numbers,” he added.

Cross channel traffic was strong, meanwhile, as 27,774 passengers made a ferry crossing for a significant increase of 32 percent increase over January last year.

Visitation by boats showed the biggest increase, as 1,732 people arrived by boat for an increase of 86.6 percent and 1,236 people arrived aboard planes, a 28.8 percent year-over-year increase.

Taken together, cross channel ferries accounted for delivering the most traffic to the island at 53.34 percent and cruise ships accounted for slightly more than 41 percent.