First the good news: more visitors came to Catalina in June of this year than in May, according to numbers recently posted on the Chamber of Commerce’s website.
According to the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, 108,265 visitors came to Catalina by various means last month.
The bad news: the June 2019 visitor count was less than the visitor count from June 2018. Last year at that time, 113,244 visitors came to the Island.
Most visitors, more than half, consistently come to the Island by cross channel carriers such as the Catalina Express and the Catalina Flyer. In June 2019, for example, cross channel vessels brought 76,797 passengers here.
Air transportation accounted for only a small part of the overall visitor count. Helicopters, for example, brought 1,515 visitors here in June 2019. Private aircraft brought 1,044.
The Airport in the Sky was closed for the first three months of the year. The Chamber’s table of visitor counts, available at the Chamber website, does not include private aircraft numbers prior to the year 2017.
With the exception of April 2019, total visitor counts were down for each month of this year when compared to each month of last year.
Council Member Oley Olsen, who used to work in the hotel industry, said he didn’t know when spring breaks were now taking place. He pointed out that many factors can impact visitor traffic, including weather, spring breaks, and the number of Saturdays in a month.
Council Member Steve Hoefs said people should definitely be concerned about the counts. Hoefs said he felt that there had been more cruise ship cancellations this year than in a very long time.
However, Hoefs pointed out that he hadn’t actually seen the numbers.