Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
The economy of the Cayman Islands is one of the strongest in the Carib-
bean and residents enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the
world. Much of that affluence results from the successful tourism industry,
with about 70% of the national product coming from that sector. Most visi-
tors come from the United States. During the winter season, many vaca-
tioners arrive from the East and Midwest; in hot summer months a great
number from Texas and the South make their way to these islands for
their cooler temperatures.
Offshore financial services play an integral role in the Cayman Is-
lands' economy. Grand Cayman has nearly 600 licensed banks (including
47 branches representing the 50 largest banks worldwide). Banking se-
crecy laws passed in 1966 laid the groundwork for this profitable industry,
which today puts the small island in the same league as financial giants
such as Zurich and Tokyo. Just what is a Cayman banking account? Some
are, as might be expected, multi-million dollar accounts, while others are
on a much smaller scale. Both take advantage of the tax-free status and
confidentiality laws, which protect all reputable transactions as a means
for earning tax-free interest. You can open an account once the Caymanian
bank receives a reference from your home banker, then you can deposit
funds (in US dollars, if you like). There is no exchange control and money
can be moved in and out of the country freely and privately. Banks nor-
mally don't accept huge amounts of cash.
Offshore insurance companies are also a growing business. Nearly
500 offshore insurance or captive insurance companies make their base
here (captive insurance is a term used for insurance companies set up by a
company or a trade association to serve its members or employees).
Thanks to the Cayman Islands' generous tax-free status, many other com-
panies choose to incorporate in the islands; currently almost 30,000 com-
panies are registered there.
People & Culture
The three Cayman Islands boast a total population just over
33,000. About 32,000 people reside on the largest island, followed
by under 1,300 residents on Cayman Brac and fewer than 170 on
Little Cayman.
It's a varied population, with cultures from around the globe. About a third
of all residents are non-Caymanians; most non-natives are from the US,
Canada, the UK and nearby Jamaica, although a total of 113 nationalities
are represented.
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