Bermuda or Caribbean Islands?

 
Visit Bermuda or Caribbean Islands? This debate goes on and on. But I am quite clear in my own mind which island I prefer to visit - BERMUDA anytime. If you read my analysis here, you will likely agree with me. To start with, check Why Bermuda Is So Special to get a feel of why so many people prefer Bermuda as an island destination over the others. Now lets take a look at the real tourism data and see what's really happening in Bermuda and the Caribbean Islands. 
 
 
 
In Bermuda Tourism - A Market Review, I have discussed the current situation of Bermuda Tourism. In short, due to the economic downturn, the tourism in Bermuda doesn't look too great at present. Even if the last financial quarter in 2009 (which is Jan - Mar 2010) optimistically attracts lots of visitors, still the total number of visitors in the whole of 2009 will most likely be down by 10% compared to the previous year. 
 
But, what's happening to all the Caribbean islands? The picture there is not too good either. This is despite the fact that Bermuda is lot more expensive than many of the Caribbean islands. Lets take a look at the recent Caribbean tourism status to get an idea. The information below is based on an article published in January 20110 by Royal Gazette, the main daily news paper of Bermuda. 
 
Haiti due to earthquake could not become a major tourist destination. Most of the other Caribbean islands also reported decline in tourism due to the economic crisis. The tourism minister in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Allan Chastanet said: "We will probably end the year 5.6 percent down but we're looking for a strong rebound in 2010". While the cruise visitors in St Lucia increased by 15%, it received only 360,000 stay-over visitors who spend money on hotel rooms and restaurants. 
 
Tobago, the smaller sister island of Trinidad, suffered significant decline in visitors from their major UK market and also from Germany. Hotels reported as much as a 40 percent decline in occupancy. While most of the Caribbean islands are reporting a poor 2009 for tourism, Jamaica had an increase of 4 percent in arrivals. Why? Jamaica has been running television ads across North America during the cold winter time to entice viewers to its warm climate. 
 
Many of the Caribbean islands are facing safety challenges as well.  
 
Armed robbers in the Bahamas have targeted cruise ship visitors. Travel advisories have been issued for Trinidad and Tobago for the sexual assaults and murders of tourists and foreign residents. Though local residents are more often targeted than visitors, the Caribbean region is struggling with high murder rates.  
 
One of Bermuda's strongest areas has traditionally been its safety and friendliness. However, Bermuda did also have its little share of crime although none was targeted towards tourists. 
 
Tobago had boosted police presence, while the crime detection rate has been increasing. Jamaica is one of the most violent countries in the Western Hemisphere. Strangely it continues to attract tourists despite its staggering murder rate. The island reported 1,680 murders last year, a record for the nation of 2.7 million people. 
 
 
 
So are you forming an opinion now? Bermuda or Caribbean islands?  
 
If you are still not sure, let's see what the visitors of Bermuda are saying? 
 
Here are some real survey opinions that was published by Royal Gazette in January 2010. The poll results came out of Bermuda Department of Tourism's visitor exit poll survey. 
 
  • 70 percent of those polled said they would definitely be coming back to Bermuda. 
  • And of those visitors who had been to another island destination, 85 percent said they preferred Bermuda. 
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