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Tourism trends

Trying to predict what will happen in Bermuda's tourism industry when it is only March is always dangerous.

Much can go wrong, and much of that is out of Bermuda's control, not least an unstable global climate which could affect prices and people's sense of security. But the early signs are good. Bermuda saw arrivals increase by 5.5 percent in January and 2.7 percent in February. To be sure, the actual numbers are not huge, and they are being compared to the dismal figures for 2010.

More importantly, the hotel industry's projections are stronger than they were in 2010. If that trend continues, it augurs well for the industry. Much of this can be attributed to the strengthening US economy and rising consumer confidence in North America. As visitors from the Island's main markets in the US Northeast and Canada feel more optimistic, they are likely to travel and spend.

But value-added packages being laid on by the Department of Tourism and the industry also help. While too much discounting can be dangerous, it is an important marketing element in a competitive market. With Air Tran coming on-line shortly to add to competition on the Baltimore and Atlanta routes, Bermuda should be able to compare favourably on price with other destinations from those gateway cities and elsewhere.

Having said that, the Island will still be expensive, and it is critical that it provides the service that is expected once the visitor lands. All Bermudians need to go out of their way to welcome visitors and to help them in any way they can.

It is vitally important to the Bermuda economy as a whole that tourism becomes viable and successful. And as the local economy shrinks, there is no better time for Bermudians to reignite their passion for tourism.

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Published March 11, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated March 11, 2011 at 9:21 am)

Tourism trends

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