Economic blow from cruise and air hits $180m
Tens of millions of dollars that might have been pumped into Bermuda’s economy by tourist and business visitors this month have been lost because of cruise ship cancellations and the closure of the airport to commercial flights in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cruise ship industry has a massive economic impact on the island’s tourism industry.
At least 60 ships scheduled up to the end of June have cancelled — with the loss of at least $45 million that would have been injected into the economy.
Cruise ship passengers would have spent an estimated $33.3 million on the island over April, May and June.
The Government is also expected to miss out on $12 million in revenue from cruise ship passenger departure tax and transport infrastructure tax.
The figures are based on the projected loss of 148,778 cruise visitors, the expected average passenger numbers from the cancelled ships as shown on the 2020 cruise ship schedule, and from the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s 2019 estimated average spending of $224 per passenger.
Businesses in Dockyard will be among those hardest hit by the loss of much of the cruise season, as the majority of ships tie up at King’s Wharf and Heritage Wharf.
West End Development Corporation, which operates Dockyard, has said it would monitor the situation.
It has already given business tenants a rent deferral for April and said it awaited a decision by the Government on the possible reopening of businesses next month before it made a decision on next month’s rental payments.
It is more difficult to quantify the likely economic impact of the huge drop in air visitor numbers because of the fluid situation around how long the airport will remain closed to commercial flights, how soon carriers will restart service and how many people will opt to visit.
But leisure and business air visitors spent a combined total $134.9 million on the island from April to the end of June last year — broadly in line with the same quarter the previous year.
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