Bermuda Tourism - A 2010 Market Review
I was reading an interesting review of Bermuda Tourism in Bermuda Sun, one of the renowned newspapers in the island. It compared the 2008 tourism numbers with that of the 2009 numbers. It's clear that there is a sharp decline in the numbers. while the effect of the economic downturn is clearly showing, many fingers are also pointing towards the leadership capability of the present government during this tough situation.
The drop in tourists is not as sharp in some of the Caribbean islands during this period as they able to attract tourists through aggressive and other smart pricing. Even the crime riddled Jamaica is also showing slight increase in tourists in the current year. But not so in Bermuda.
Here are the 2008 and 2009 comparisons stated in the news paper. Note that the figures are for the first 3 quarters (or first nine months of each year).
For the first three quarters:
In 2008, tourism brought in $338 million to Bermuda. 2009 brought in $276 million - $62 million less than in 2008. So it's 18% down compared to the previous year.
Department of tourism shows that visitors by air dropped to about 146,000 compared to about 172,000 in 2008. That makes a 15 per cent drop in air-arriving leisure visitors.
During 2008 first three quarters, Bermuda had 246,376 cruise visitors. In the same three quarters of 2009, there were 266,381 cruise visitors. So cruise arrivals in 2009 were up by 8 per cent. However, cruise visitors spend about 15 per cent in the island compared to air visitors, mainly because they do not require hotel stay.
Even if Bermuda is able to get 100,000 visitors in the last financial quarter (Jan - Mar 2010) , the total visitor spending for the year is still likely to be at least 10 per cent lower than in 2008.
So the looming question is, can Bermuda tourism be revived so that air-arriving leisure visitors get back to the 400,000 level once promised by the Minister for Tourism?
If you ask me, I am a blind optimist as far as Bermuda is concerned. My family and I have taken several air travels to Bermuda and we will continue to do so.
UPDATES (Feb 11, 2010)
The Premier of Bermuda just released the 2009 tourism figures. Bermuda's total visitors in 2009 increased by 1 per cent compared to 2008. A total of 559,000 visitors arrived in Bermuda in 2009. This is mainly fuelled by cruises.
However the air arrivals decreased by over 10%. As a result the average hotel occupancy rate in 2009 was down to 51% compared to 59% in 2008 and 67% in 2007.
The Premier also mentioned that over $2.5 Million was spent towards direct promotions of the hotels in 2009 and the Department of Tourism will continue to promote the hotel business to attract tourists.
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