Gonzalo could have cost tourism $1m a day

  • Hit: Palms at John Smith’s Bay damaged by Hurricane Gonzalo

    Hit: Palms at John Smith’s Bay damaged by Hurricane Gonzalo
    ((Photo by Akil Simmons))

Hurricane Gonzalo may have cost the Bermuda’s tourism industry up to $1 million for every day the Island was shut down, according to Bill Hanbury.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority chairman’s estimate was based on last year’s visitors’ spending of $411 million, but a more accurate evaluation will be made next week when the Authority’s researcher returns to the Island.

In the run-up to Gonzalo, LF Wade International Airport was closed for two-and-a-half days resulting in some 62 cancelled commercial flights, while three cruise ships were diverted resulting in losses for businesses and services Island-wide.

“We will come up with a real estimate but based on past visitor spending, the economy lost more than a million dollars a day,” Mr Hanbury said.

“It is part of the tourism value chain, starting with the airport then the hotels, restaurants to taxi cabs and retailers. All of that is part of the tourism value chain that is effected by the loss of revenues when an event like this happens.

“The airport was quickly able to come back online — they did a masterful job. They also did a masterful job of getting people off the Island who didn’t need to be here.

“The government, BTA, the Bermuda Airport Authority and Bermuda Hotel Association all played a role in assuring people got off the Island safely.”

Mr Hanbury added: “I’d like to express our gratitude to the front line public and private sector workers who were out there cleaning the streets from the Regiment to the Royal Navy. It was a tremendous effort.

“We have kudos around the world from the media for being able to quickly and efficiently recover from an event of this nature. It speaks volumes of the power of our residents to pull together and collaborate in a good way and the world notices. They did amazing work.

“Officials from the America’s Cup were on the Island during the storm and they were very impressed with both the preparedness side and recovery side of Gonzalo and that bodes well for us as they consider Bermuda as avenue for America’s Cup 35 — it would be in June and not in the high risk weather area. I think they believe our capabilities to respond to an emergency like this was powerful medicine.

Aaron Adderley, General Manager at the Bermuda Airport Authority added: “There was an exceptional amount of activity at the private jet facility as well with a number of persons departing the Island via corporate or private aircraft.

“The airlines made further, albeit minor, capacity adjustments on Sunday afternoon when we resumed operations meaning that by Monday, we had essentially returned to our normal flight schedule.”

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Published Oct 23, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 23, 2014 at 12:10 am)

Gonzalo could have cost tourism $1m a day

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