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New report shows state of the tourism industry

A new report released this morning shows employment in the tourism industry fell by four percent last year.The Tourism Satellite Account report details spending, visitor numbers, employment and spending for 2009.It shows:* Tourism contributed $231 million to the Island’s Gross Domestic Product - representing four percent of total GDP, just less than the 4.5 percent figure in 2008.* Employment in the tourism industry fell four percent cent in 2009. Employment in the tourism industry stood at 3,645 jobs in 2009, or nine percent of the total labour force.The report says: “A decline in visitors during the year resulted in job losses by workers in the industry. Lower demand for tourism services led employers to cut operational costs and scale back the number of industry workers.“Bermudians and expatriate workers alike felt the impact of job cuts. Despite this, the Bermudian share of total employment in the tourism industry was unchanged at 70 percent in 2009. The tourism industry remained the number one private sector employer of Bermudians.”* In 2009, visitors made a total of 559,042 trips to Bermuda and spent $350 million on goods and services. But the report states: “Total spending decreased by $75 million from 2008 and partly reflected the lower number of tourists in 2009.“Visitor spending was lower for accommodation by $39 million; food and beverage services by $15 million; passenger transport by $12 million and retail by $5 million. These four expenditure groupings accounted for over 90 percent of total visitor spending. In contrast, spending on recreation and entertainment was the only category with a higher level of visitor spending.”* Bermuda residents spent an estimated $407 million on foreign travel in 2009, $51 million less than in 2008.* Government spent $30 million to facilitate the operation of the tourism industry. Spending on tourism promotion, marketing and related professional services was $4 million less than in 2008. “This spending accounted for 70 percent of total government spending on tourism in 2009. Compensation of employees at the Department of Tourism and overseas offices fell by just under $1 million,” said the report.