During our vacation last week, we spent some time on Grand Cayman. Aside from the excellent snorkeling and diving, the Cayman Islands are quite interesting from a financial perspective. For example…
According to our local tour guide, the Cayman Islands are home to 550 banks, only 12-14 of which are required for local business. The balance are engaged in offshore banking.
In terms of the local economy, banking is (not surprisingly) the #1 industry, followed by tourism and insurance. And with an average per capita income of $42k, the Cayman Islands have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean.
Interestingly, the government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation, including an import duty of 5-20% on nearly all goods imported to the island, as well as work permit fees for expatriates working in the Caymans.
Finally, Hurricane Ivan passed alongside Grand Cayman as a Category 5 hurricane in 2004 and, according to our guide, 95% of all properties were either damaged or destroyed. While WikiPedia pegs the number slightly lower at 80%, the damage was still clearly evident during our visit nearly four years later.