Log In

Reset Password

Tourism hopeful for sunnier skies this season

First Prev 1 2 Next Last
People in the tourism industry are hoping for calmer seas and brighter skies this year (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

As the summer season heats up, local tourism operators are crossing their fingers for better weather conditions.

The visitor industry has been the hardest hit by climate and weather change in the past year, according to the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce’s latest Business Barometer Report conducted by Narrative Research.

This was in spite of two thirds of tourism respondents reporting improved economic performance in the past 12 months.

“Last summer was a doozy for weather,” said Michelle Conklin, of Dockyard Watersports. “I haven’t run the data, but the rate of cancellation was notable.”

Ms Conklin said there had already been some cruise ship cancellations this year.

She said sometimes the impact was from wind, but more often it was rain that drove customers away.

It was not always local weather that caused cruise ships and aircraft flights to cancel visits to Bermuda.

“It can also be weather out to sea,” she said.

In the event of a cruise ship or flight cancellation, local water excursion and touring companies are often forced to give a complete refund.

Reviews on Tripadvisor’s Viator website were peppered with mentions of weather.

Earlier this month, one disappointed visitor wrote: “Unfortunately the weather was not good with winds blowing 30mph. Also, there were a ton of Portuguese man-of-war in the water washing up on the beach. I cancelled last night but too late for a refund.”

Also this month: “Although the seas prevented us from going off shore to the shipwrecks, we were able to go to the site of the HMS Vixen and see that through the glass bottom before snorkelling nearby. The swells grew, however, so we had to relocate to a calm cove where we were able to snorkel some more and also jump off the boat.”

Last December: “The boat was unable to dock due to high winds and 21ft waves.”

Cheri Davenport operates Bermuda Food Tours (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Cheri Davenport, operator of Bermuda Food Tours, said she had definitely seen an increase in weather-related cancellations in the past year. She has been running the business since 2018.

“The tour runs rain or shine,” she said. “However, if cruise ships skip Bermuda due to weather, or flights don’t arrive, then people simply can’t take the tour.”

She said it was hard to say how much her business lost when they had to refund clients’ money.

“It depends on how many people from the cruise ship or flight had booked the tour,” she said. “It could be anywhere from one to eight people at a time.”

Ms Davenport was excited to see business picking up again.

Keerome Maybury, of Traveller Charters Bermuda, said while last year’s weather was certainly notable, it did not prevent his business from experiencing year-on-year growth.

“For those whose operations have matured beyond the start-up phase, perhaps a financial impact was more evident,” he said.

He said a good performance in June, July and August counteracted the weather challenges in April and May of 2023.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published May 15, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 16, 2024 at 8:31 am)

Tourism hopeful for sunnier skies this season

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon