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Q1 visitor spending down, resident overseas purchases static

Visitor spending went down by $1.3 million in the first quarter of the year, according to the Department of Statistics Quarterly Bulletin.

The quarterly bulletin expanded on visitor arrival statistics released about three weeks ago, and also provided visitor expenditure as well as overseas spending numbers and retails sales figures.

Minister of Tourism Shawn Crockwell had announced the reduction in actual visitor numbers at a press conference on June 10. Mr Crockwell said then he was not surprised. “But we are buoyed by what we see coming this summer.”

The bulletin pointed to hotel gross receipts which amounted to $33.3 million. It also stated that the hotel industry employed 2,375 workers.

Other figures announced included residents’ overseas spending which amounted to a declared $11.5 million, while gross turnover in the retail sector reached $229.2 million.

The report stated: “The decrease in the number of air passengers to the Island translated into a decline in total expenditure by air visitors in the first quarter. Air visitor expenditure was estimated at $33.8 million, a decrease of $1.3 million from the same quarter in 2012.

“The average expenditure per visitor dipped by 2.7 percent to $1,054 from $1,083 a year ago.”

Broken down further, the report stated that accommodation expenditure, which represented 47.5 percent of the money spent by those who arrived by air, decreased 3.9 percent. “Spending on meals and beverages in restaurants slipped by 16.1 percent. In contrast, outlays on recreational and leisure activities by air tourists increased a strong 40 percent. Purchases of groceries/liquor supplies and transportation expenses were up by 23.1 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.

“Expenditure on gifts and souvenirs and other shopping purchases remained unchanged during the quarter.”

As Mr Crockwell had reported, the statistics bulletin stated cruise ship arrivals fell 45.4 percent during the first quarter. It said: “A total of 1,484 cruise passengers travelled to Bermuda during the first quarter of 2013 compared to 2,719 passengers in 2012. Although the same number of cruise ship calls was made to Bermuda’s ports compared to a year ago, the smaller cruise ship liners contributed to fewer cruise visitors during the quarter. Total expenditure for these passengers was estimated at $0.3 million.”

Overseas spending by residents remained static at $11.5 million during this period, the report noted.

“Clothing and footwear purchases, representing 46.8 percent of total overseas purchases, increased 1.4 percent to $5.4 million. Spending on electronic and photographic equipment reflected the largest absolute increase of $179,000 year-over-year. Outlays on jewellery and watches and computer, hardware and software increased by $112,000 and $96,000, respectively.” Spending on tools, machinery and parts rose $13,000.

The bulletin also looked at retail sales, which recorded a “fractional rise” of 0.1 percent over the same quarter in 2012. Sales for the month of January 2013 increased 3.1 percent year-over-year. “However,” it stated, “this higher level of sales was offset by declines in retail sales turnover during the months of February and March of 1.8 percent and one percent, respectively.”

The report continued: “Among the seven retail sectors, building material stores experienced the largest decrease in sales activity of 19.5 percent. This was due to weaker demand for building supplies reflecting fewer construction projects. All other store types, including pharmacies, tourist related stores and furniture stores experienced a decrease of 3.6 percent in combined sales.

“Motor vehicle dealers registered a dip in sales of 3.5 percent, reflecting fewer vehicles sold. Consumer demand for apparel declined fractionally by 0.5 percent, while service stations recorded no sales growth year-over-year. Food stores and liquor stores registered higher sales during the quarter of 6.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.”

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Published July 01, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm)

Q1 visitor spending down, resident overseas purchases static

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