One percent fall in visitor arrivals

  • <B>Tourism Minister</B> Wayne Furbert

    Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert
    ((Photo by Akil Simmons))

Visitor arrivals fell by one percent for the second quarter of 2012, after a large dip in convention business tourists.

About 240,000 visitors came to Bermuda in April, May and June this year, down from 243,000 in the corresponding period of 2011.

Announcing the figures at a press conference yesterday, Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said: “This decrease, while disappointing, is mostly a result in the decline in convention business which saw a dip of almost 62 percent, as large incentive groups received in 2011 were not recouped in 2012.

“For example, State Farm insurance was not replicated in the same way in 2012.”

Mr Furbert said business tourists is one area specifically being targeted by the National Tourism Plan, which aims to help Bermuda generate $1.4 billion a year through tourism by 2022.

Business travellers decreased by 12 percent for the quarter, with people visiting friends and family dropping 13 percent. People visiting for “other reasons” increased by 22 percent.

The average stay on the Island went up from 5.59 nights to 5.82 nights, although for visitors in commercial properties it dipped from 4.8 nights to 4.7 nights.

Cruise arrivals remained constant at slightly more than 161,000. Yacht arrivals increased 70 percent due to the biannual Newport to Bermuda race which carried 1,459 crew and also brought family, friends and support to hotels.

Mr Furbert said he’s optimistic the third quarter will bring better news, with transient room bookings up eight percent for the next six months, and tour operator room bookings up 30 percent, although group room bookings are down four percent.

“We know, from speaking to hotels, that the months of July and August showed some encouraging improvement, so we expect to experience better results going forward, with respect to air arrivals,” Mr Furbert told the media.

He said feedback on the new advertising brand ‘So Much More’ has renewed hope that the Island’s appeal can be broadened.

“The response has been excellent,” he said. “Bermudians are getting involved at every aspect.”

He said of the advertisements: “The responses are that it shows Bermuda is vibrant, brighter, and giving a feeling that’s where life and action take place: so much more than we used to be.”

Mr Furbert said plans for secret shoppers at Customs would improve visitors’ experiences from the moment they get off the plane.

He said everyone has experienced problems with customer service at the airport at one point or another, depending on whether staff “wake up that morning not feeling the best”.

But he said: “No matter how you feel, you have got to come into work and greet people the same way.

“It’s human nature, but we are trying to get people, whether airport or hotel or taxi drivers, to make sure that our tourists are treated the best.”

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Published Aug 25, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated Aug 25, 2012 at 7:22 am)

One percent fall in visitor arrivals

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