Cayman Islands: Country and Foreign Investment
Economy and Currency
This page was last updated on 28 June 2019.
The prosperous Caymanian 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 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 per capita remains one of the highest in the world at USD54,830 in 2009.
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.