Cayman Islands: Country and Foreign Investment
Economy and Currency
The prosperous Cayman Islands economy is dominated by tourism (70% of GDP) and financial services. The standard of living is one of the highest in the region; unemployment was 6% in 2009, 6.2% in 2010, 6.3% in 2011 and 6.2% in 2012.
The upmarket Cayman tourist industry attracted 1.8m people in 2012, largely from the US. Cruise ship visitors make up a significant proportion of the total. The number of cruise ship passengers in 2012 increased by around 7% compared to the previous year.
The Government has worked for 25 years to develop Cayman into a top financial jurisdiction, assisted by the fact that Cayman has never had any kind of taxation (stamp duty, import duties and registration fees being the only exceptions). Banking, insurance, trust management and mutual funds are the key sectors making up the financial services industry. More than 93,000 foreign companies are registered in Cayman. The financial sector is regulated by the independent Cayman Monetary Authority.
Cayman has tried hard to legislate away doubtful business based on drugs or money-laundering and has maintained a good reputation in this respect. It is a leading member of the CFATF (Caribbean Financial Action Task Force), and has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with the US and UK.
The Cayman Islands' currency is the Cayman dollar at a rate of USD1 = KYD0.81.
GDP remains one of the highest in the world at more than USD43,717 per head in 2012.
Following three years of downturn, economic activity in 2012 recorded an increase of 1.6% (0.9% in 2011) largely due to a recovery in tourism, financial and business services and real estate, the Economic Statistics Office reported.