Tourist arrivals so far for 2011 down 35 percent on 2007 – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Tourist arrivals so far for 2011 down 35 percent on 2007

Air arrivals for January and February are down 35 percent compared to 2007.

Shadow Tourism Minister Michael Dunkley said Bermuda was facing one of the slowest winter hospitality seasons in recent memory despite the fact the number of tourists arriving on the Island had increased from last year.

Earlier this week Tourism Minister Patrice Minors said Bermuda recorded its first positive growth in air arrivals during the winter season since 2007. She announced that January's figure had increased by 5.5 percent while February's arrivals were up 2.7 percent.

The Royal Gazette reported this amounted to approximately 600 additional tourists compared to 2010, which was the worst winter season in decades.

Approximately 15,650 people flew to Bermuda for business or pleasure during the two-month period this year. This was a four percent increase compared to 2010. However, it is also a 12 percent decrease compared to 2009, a 31 percent decrease compared to 2008 and a 35 percent decrease from the 23,990 visitors who flew to the Island in January and February 2007.

Last night Sen Dunkley said: “I applaud the Minster for her hotel programme, for getting into the hotels to understand the way they operate, but she seems to have continued on from the previous Minister [former Premier Ewart Brown] in that she is spinning anything positive.

“I am pleased to see that at least we appear to have hit rock bottom last year, but the tourism industry and hotels are still facing a tough winter.”

Sen Dunkley added tourists are continuing to book holidays at the last minute. This means the Ministry must ensure its advertising is reaching the core demographic, affluent East Coasters, through targeted magazine and television placements in the coming months to boost the summer season, he said.

The Department of Tourism is currently operating without an international advertising agency. Instead they are using existing adverts, such as ones created by GlobalHue who end their controversial advertising contract with Bermuda in two weeks.

The Department is using an international media buyer to place adverts overseas. The identity of the media buyer has yet to be made public, though the Minister said she would announce it “shortly”. A panel of seven stakeholders in the industry, who have not been named, chose the company after inviting three companies, who have not been named, to bid for the Government contract. Ms Minors told Parliament the media buyer would save taxpayers approximately $1.6 million in advertising agency fees.

Government will select a new advertising agency before December after the Tourism Board map out a national plan for the industry, which will focus on brand awareness.

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Published March 11, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 11, 2011 at 8:59 am)

Tourist arrivals so far for 2011 down 35 percent on 2007

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