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Future forecast projects $1b revenue from tourism

Bermuda's take from the tourism industry is set to smash through the $1 billion dollar mark over the next ten years, a major new survey has predicted.

The survey said the total contribution to the Island's coffers last year was more than $858 million — but that is expected to rise by 4.1 percent next year and reach $1.26 billion by 2024 — a 3.5 percent increase every year over the next decade.

The survey found that tourism supported 7,346 jobs — nearly a fifth of the workforce either directly or indirectly last year.

And it is predicted that figure will go up by 2.3 percent (169 jobs) this year and continue to rise by 1.7 percent a year and hit 9000 jobs in ten years (20.8 percent of the workforce).

The predictions came in a major survey of the industry carried out by the UK-based World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

And WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill said that, worldwide, spending by tourists had risen by nearly four percent last year — but that spending by travellers from south east Asia had gone up by ten percent.

Mr Scowsill said: “It is clear that the growth in travel and tourism demand from emerging markets continues with pace, as the burgeoning middle classes, especially from Asia and Latin America, are willing and more able than ever to travel both within and beyond their borders.”

He added the outlook for the industry over the next ten years was “extremely favourable” — but warned governments would need to take action to capitalise on the growth.

Mr Scowsill said: “This will require governments to implement more open visa regimes and to adopt intelligent rather than punitive taxation policies.

“It is also critical that public and private partnerships ensure that long term infrastructure and human resource needs are planned responsibly and sustainably to absorb the inevitable growth we are forecasting.

“If the right steps are taken, travel and tourism can be a true force for good.”

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell yesterday did not respond to requests for comment.

The survey added that the direct financial contribution from the sector to the Island's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year was more than $285.4 million — 4.9 percent of the total GDP.

It also predicted that the direct financial contribution from tourism would continue upwards over the next ten years — rising 3.6 percent a year to $423.9 million by 2024, amounting to 5.6 percent of GDP.

The number of people working in tourism is also expected to rise.

A total of 3,500 jobs — almost 10 percent of the working population — was directly employed in the industry in 2013, but that is predicted to rise by 2.2 percent (77 jobs) this year and be at 4,000 jobs (10.4 percent of total jobs) in a decade.

The survey also predicted that the total investment in the industry, which stood at $27.3 million last year (2.8 percent of total investment) would drop by 2.2 percent this year, but rise by one percent a year to $29.5 million in 2024.

Bermuda was rated 140th out of 184 countries in terms of the relative importance of tourism, and 51st in terms of the relative size of the tourism contribution to GDP.

The Island was predicted to be 104th for growth in the industry next year, but drops to 130th for long-term growth.

Horseshoe Bay is a favourite spot for many tourists. A report suggests the Island may see tourism revenue exceed $1 billion within 10 years.

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Published March 19, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 19, 2014 at 12:33 am)

Future forecast projects $1b revenue from tourism

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