Air Arrivals Decrease, Cruise Arrivals Increase

January 20, 2015

According to the latest Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics, during the third quarter of 2014 air arrivals decreased 5.6%, while cruise ship arrivals increased 7.9%.

The decline in air arrivals translated into a drop in occupancy at the larger tourist accommodation properties and a decline in air arrival visitor spending, which dropped $13.1 million or 10.8%; while the increase in cruise arrivals saw spending by cruise visitors increase by $3.3 million or 9.8%.

Chart extracted from the report:

1-Fullscreen capture 01202015 90432 AM

The report said, “During the third quarter of 2014, air arrivals decreased 5.6% compared to 2013. A total of 78,202 visitors arrived by air to the Island, down from 82,819 year-over-year.

“Arrivals from the United States, Bermuda’s largest tourist market, fell 5.8%. Visitors from the United Kingdom and all other countries recorded similar declines of 12.3% and 12.6%, respectively. In contrast, air arrivals from Canada rose 10.5%.

“The decline in third quarter air arrivals translated into a drop in occupancy levels at the larger tourist accommodation properties. Occupancy levels at resort hotels and small hotels dropped by 4,470 and 2,002 guests, respectively.

“Guest houses accommodated 32 less guest during the third quarter of 2014. In contrast, the number of visitors staying at housekeeping accommodations increased by 965 guests. Private homes accommodated 604 more guests compared to a year ago.

“Passengers arriving to the Island by air spent an estimated $107.9 million during the third quarter of 2014. This represented a decline of $13.1 million or 10.8%.

“Visitors reported spending $6.7 million less on shopping, entertainment and other services such as recreational and leisure services. Spending on accommodations and food also declined by $6.4 million.

“During the third quarter of 2014, cruise ship arrivals increased 7.9% to 169,846 passengers. The rise in cruise ship passengers was attributed to four more cruise ship calls to Bermuda’s ports when compared to the third quarter of 2013.

“Expenditure by cruise visitors on local goods and services, including entertainment, souvenirs, sightseeing, sports activities and transportation increased to $37.0 million. This reflected a 9.8% rise in spending or $3.3 million more year-over-year.”

The Quarterly Bulletin of Statistics follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (46)

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  1. hold on, what?? says:

    500 fewer jobs, air arrivals down…but the economy is getting better? yup, that makes sense to me.

    • Politricks says:

      Why do you guys keep on going about the 500 jobs last year when in the last 5 years of the PLP reign an average of 1,000 jobs were lost annually?

      That means the 500 jobs last year is a 50% improvement on the last 5 years of the PLP’s term in power.

      On top of that the GDP contraction in the OBA’s first year was less than half of the negative growth felt under the PLP’s last 5 years.

      So despite your belly aching the stats, while not pretty, do highlight improvements in the economy. You PLPers have way too much expectations of the OBA, even more than OBA supporters do.

      You cannot fix a broken economy overnight nor a broken tourism industry.

      When the PLP took over in 1998 they inherited a booming and growing economy with Government finances in tip top shape. The OBA, in 2012, inherited the exact opposite.

      Now before you label me this that and whatever please provide a rational response as to how the figures noted above cannot be considered to be an improvement on what the current Government inherited. A smaller flow of job losses and a smaller GDP contraction are improvements whether you want to believe it or not.

      • sswhite says:

        Why don’t you be fair – air arrivals (net) have been going down for the last 20 years – so please stop playing the blame game and take a look at the underlying cause of this.

        Your name to me, seems very apt at this point. Politricks indeed.

        • Politricks says:

          Nowhere in my post above did I blame the dismal tourism numbers on the PLP.

          • sswhite says:

            but you’d like to…

            • Politricks says:

              Okay. If you say so.

              Seems like you can’t rebut my point, however and I will take your deflection as a tacit admission you know I am right.

              Have a good one.

            • sswhite says:

              And further did I say you blamed the PLP? I simply said be fair. Air arrivals began to decline before the PLP’s tenure is all I alluded to. I asked you to look for the underlying cause – which I feel is changes in discretionary spending.

              You are showing your hand.

      • hold on, what?? says:

        Politricks, your comment ignores the global economic slowdown that coincided with the last years of the PLP administration. It ignores the substantial economic growth that occurred under the PLP from 1998-2008. And, it ignores the paradox that Bermuda’s economy seems to be getting worse while that of the US is improving (usually, these two coincide, as they did under the PLP). Perhaps you could address these matters first before leading us down the path of willful ignorance.

        • Impressive says:

          LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT.. ;-)

          • Kangoocar says:

            You only love it because, your intelligence level hinders you from understanding any of what politricks said????

        • Politricks says:

          The economic slowdown (glad you guys stopped using the term global recession anymore) had nothing to do with the decimation of Government finances under the previous administration.

          Between 2008 and 2008 the PLP increased the deficit by 1,421% which was caused by growing expenses by 43% while only increasing revenue by just 19%. Just to clarify/highlight that this occurred before the ‘economic slowdown’ or my favourite PLPism the ‘great recession.’

          Between 2005 and 2012 the previous Government increased expenditure 57% while revenues grew by 17% which in turn increased the budget deficit by 1,912%! As a result of this blatant financial “mismanagement” the BDA’s net debt exploded from a 2005 level of $128 million to $2.42 billion in 2012 which is a 1,787% increase!

          ‘Economic slowdowns’ do not cause hundreds of millions of so called ‘overruns’ in the capital projects undertaken by the PLP.

          “Economic slowdowns” don’t cause Government to receive 4 consecutive qualified audits on their financials as was the case under the financial stewardship of the previous Government.

          “Economic slowdowns” also don’t cause Governments to cease performing financial audits on the $1.5 billion underfunded pension plans run by Government for almost 5 years (see SAGE report) or ensure that all quangos are being audited in a timely and effective manner (re: BDA College).

          “Economic slowdowns” don’t cause the bloating of the civil service and the aforementioned debt which in turn now consumes nearly TWO THIRDS of annual Government revenue which leaves little to nothing in terms of investments in upgrading BDA’s infrastructure and social programs.

          “Economic slowdowns” don’t cause Governments to raise payroll tax and foreign currency purchase tax in the middle of our deepest recession which deepened our recession even further and coupled with anti-business policies pushed these locally domiciled companies off of our shores into more expensive jurisdictions to do business (i.e. Zurich, Ireland, etc.). One would think that any Government and especially the Minister of Finance would have taken a basic Economics 101 course which states save during the good times, spend during the bad and don’t raise taxes when in a recessionary environment.

          As I noted the PLP inherited a booming economy in 1998 due to the foresight of their predecessors in setting up the international business economic pillar. They inherited a booming economy, a growing industry and Government finances that were in tip top shape.

          The US was in a recession for one year in 2008. Bermuda recorded massive GDP contraction that year all the way up to last year.

          What you seemed to have ignored was my post that while the numbers are still negative they have been halved (i.e. job losses and GDP contraction), but yet you couldn’t provide an explanation as to how that can’t be seen as an improvement. It is what it is, no matter how much you try to say it isn’t. How can 500 job losses not be an improvement on annual 1,00 job loss figure under the PLP from 2008 to 2012?

          Now if you wouldn’t mind rebutting my assertion as well as explaining how the mishandling of Government finances (see points above) has nothing to do with the former administration and all to do with the ‘economic slowdown’ it would be much appreciated.

          Thanks in advance.

          • Politricks says:

            The second paragraph should read Between 2004 and 2008.

            My apologies.

            And since ‘Impressive’ loved, loved, loved your comment I hope the same individual can enlighten me as how I was wrong in first post and the one above.

            Please as it appears I need some guidance as facts aren’t simply good enough.

          • hold on, what?? says:


            the basic reality is that bermuda’s economy grew strongly until 2008. it’s a reality that you and your oba compadres would prefer us to forget.

            • Politricks says:

              Sorry for boring you with indisputable facts.

              But I understand that such pesky things are downright boring, while conjecture and mythical story telling are much more exciting to some. You should probably stick to the talk shows where no one seems to ever present a factual argument. Seems to be more of your speed in all honesty.

          • sswhite says:

            Hey Politricks – You are spot on in your assessment – I have a little issue though.

            Could you please clarify what the plp did exactly make IB feel unwanted? It seems there is two schools of thought. One that says that under the plp jobs on permit to people from overseas were at a all time high – I believe this is fact – you are the man/woman with the numbers it seems Then another that says that their attitude toward IB caused the jobs to leave (it muddies the water when these losses also coincided with the economic downturn – however long that tail is/was)?

            So which one is it? You are very factual with your economic numbers but when it comes to this metric – as you put it “anti-business policies pushed these locally domiciled companies off of our shores into more expensive jurisdictions to do business (i.e. Zurich, Ireland, etc.)” In numbers please quantify how exactly they made these businesses feel so bad they chose to operate in more expensive jurisdictions.

            • Politricks says:

              The PLP under the leadership of Mrs. Smith, Mr. Scott and the late Finance Minister Mr. Cox understood how the economy worked and Bermuda’s need, as a small jurisdiction, to maintain healthy Government finances and robust foreign exchange earnings as a means to keep the island chugging along as it was when they inherited the economy in 1998. Now the PLP old guard as I noted understood the importance of our economic pillar that provides 85% of our FX earnings (which is very important as we import everything and produce absolutely nothing) and as such did very little to rock the boat and allowed the market to perform with little to no political intervention.

              It also must be said that Bermuda also benefitted off of many worldwide tragic events (i.e. 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Asian tsunami etc.) that contributed greatly to our economic boom in the mid-2000s due to the IB infrastructure set up by the UBP and maintained by the original PLP Government.

              However, with the change of the PLP guard to the Dr. Brown, Col. Burch and Ms. Cox team the meddling in our economy increased tenfold (i.e. actual enforcing of term limits, land licensing requirements for Bermudians with a non-Bermudian spouse, creating closed categories for certain jobs which had to be reversed because of companies being forced to close up shop etc.).

              Under the new leadership you had the dynamic duo of Dr. Brown and Col. Burch ramping up the hatred as was the case with their silly Sven and Johnny analogies and while I sat in a conference which was packed with overseas insurance and IB big shots in which one of them berated them and accused them of possibly creating social unrest and laid all our ills at their feet. This was despite the fact that the economy was coasting along and Bermuda had under employment.

              Col. Burch laughed at the falling prices of real estate (the #1 source of wealth for most Bermudians) and expressed his glee at locals experiencing negative equity via falling prices and a depressed real estate market which was brought about directly by their isolationist policies that have no place in a globalized 21st century world.

              I couldn’t tell you how many times many executives complained to the PLP Government that the term limits were hindering their business and when they didn’t listen they moved either their C-suite positions to more welcoming jurisdictions (along with the numerous jobs these positions create). Even the PLP’s own solicited legal opinion noted that term limits do not protect jobs for Bermudians and actually had the reverse effect. Don’t believe me? I suggest you ask someone from the prior administration about the legal opinion they were provided. Instead of listening to atual experts they decided that it wouldn’t be politically feasible to scrap term limits so in the end they allowed politics to trump national interests. No surprise here as the PLP continue that party before country mantra as of today. And if it was the global economy that forced this exodus then why did they move to even more expensive jurisdictions? The OBA’s scrapping of term limits all together was a case of too little too late as the players had already paid to leave Bermuda and have no desire of returning to a jurisdiction where the chance of the PLP becoming the anti-business Government they were and still are is a possibility.

              Then we can talk about the PLP’s use of moral suasion on certain banking institutions (via connected CEOs) to increased ‘lending to the people’ and the issuance of 100% mortgages so that the ‘people’ can own a piece of the rock. Essentially they creasted Bermuda’s very own subprime crisis which is eating away at the banks’ capital and to this day. A noble idea but one that has no reality in, well, reality. It was around this time that Mr. Bob Richards warned the PLP Government that the economy was overheating with the PLP labelling him as a ‘fear mongerer’ and how stating how the PLP would rather have an overheating economy than a luke warm one (great economic vision there).

              Lastly, raising the payroll taxes, with absolutely no consultation, during the ‘economic slowdown’ was one of the stupidest moves made by any Government in the world. Then they doubled down on the stupidity by doubling the foreign currency purchase tax at the same time. As we import everything such an increase inevitably increased the cost of living for every single resident of Bermuda. So much for beign the Party of the ‘little man.’ Even the PLP acknowledged the fallacy of their decision by scrapping the payroll tax hike one year later.

              Hope that helps.

              • js says:


                Bob Richards can you stay off the blogs and get back to work

                • Politricks says:

                  Not Bob Richards but I am flattered with the comparison.

                  Anything constructive to say regarding the points I made?

                  • js says:

                    only Bob Richards would be flattered with a comparison to Bob Richards

                    • Politricks says:

                      Still nothing, huh?

                      I get that empty feeling sometimes too.

                      There’s always tomorrow;)

              • sswhite says:



                • Politricks says:

                  Nope not a VP and nor do I work in international business anymore. My company that I did work for is the one that decided to re-domicile elsewhere where they can operate without constantly being infringed upon and being made to feel like somehow they were social pariahs despite the fact that the same industry is the one and only pillar keeping this rock above water.

                  But either way the above analysis is largely accurate, in my and others opinions, as to the reason why so many left our shores and took their job opportunities, scholarships, charitable donations and FX earnings to more accommodating jurisdictions.

                  There is a reason why BDA’s biggest economic boom happen to coincide with the most work permits issued.

                  Anyways, thanks for the conversation and listening to my point of view.

          • Hahahah says:

            BOb get back to work

          • Tolerate says:

            That was a pretty complete assessment, well done. Not sure how many people will actually listen regarding the “yawn” you got (by the way that was the WEAKEST comeback) but you put it out there.
            “clarify what the plp did exactly make IB feel unwanted?” well that one has already been beat to death. It’s all boils down to if you are open to accept facts, or not.

            • Tolerate says:

              I believe the concept that is missing is that “the IB feeling unwanted” was directed at poor policies put in place to drive off IB which DID happen; and the ALL time high for work permits was directed at other industries.
              These are TWO separate entities. The PLP was guilty for driving off IB and did have the highest count of work permits. The two are separate in this manner, and CAN happen as discussed in numerous past blogs.

        • sswhite says:

          This “recovery” the MSM force feeds is consumer audience is financial engineering at best and (more probably) flat out lies at worst. Easy to look like you are in a recovery when corporations and banks alike go to the FED lending trough for near zero interest loans…which leads to problems the whole of this page could not describe in words.

          The larger point is that discretionary consumer spending has been in decline for a decade now. Everyday folks (BHO – favorite saying) not the one percent are feeling the squeeze. In fact there has been no time in modern history where the wealth gap in industrialized nations had been this large. Adjusted for inflation the (quickly evaporating)middle class families are making the same as a family living in 1976! So how are they, and why would they board a plane to this place?

          • Kangoocar says:

            @sswhite, this post of your actually is pretty much spot on?? But I will ask you why you didn’t put the blame were it really belongs when it comes to the ” financial engineering or flat out lies??” The Obama machine is solely responsible for printing $85 BILLION a month in totally unearned money that basically is not worth the cost of the paper it is printed on, to lend to to these banks at ZERO %% interest!!! This soon will be the cause of the biggest financial melt down any of us will have ever seen or heard of in the entire worlds history!!! The stock market is built up on a totally false foundation because of all this FAKE money that is being printed!!! The sad part is, most people are living in total oblivience over this and are going to lose everything because of it!! The even sadder part is, there are very few that are actually investing in the markets ( because they don’t have the money to do that ) which means it is bein manipulated by the big guys and the banks, and when the banks and governments lose WE all lose!!! And it will come from our banks/governments freezing our accounts!!! And we will have nothing!!! And this all is coming soon beleive me!!!!

            • stunned... says:

              leave President Obama out of Bermudian politics…please.

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          What was the substantial economic growth? List me ten items…can’t even do that. You mean infrastructure lmfao…you lot are a joke. I’ll be waiting for your response….

        • Creamy says:

          The teo did not “coincide”. The US came out of recesdion in 12 months. The PLP recession had been 5 years by the time you lost power.
          You lot love to rewrite history don’t you. Bunch of frikin liars.

      • Jo Blo says:

        I give credit to your observations, but your reasoning starts falling apart IMHO when you use terms like “PLP’s term in power”. If we are seeing decreases YoY at this point in unemployment figures its because of much larger forces that go waaaay beyond our little island politics. It comes as no suprise to me that the worse of the employment declines here coincided PERFECTLY with the momentum of a rapidly deterioratng global credit crisis. And it hardly comes as a surprise that some of the debateable “bottoming out” is appears to be consistent with some of the slowed deterioration (and improvements) we are seeing in major global economies. We start to look dumb tying forces of this magnitude to the ridiculously infinitesimal influence of Bermuda’s economy. I dont of course expect this realty to have any impact on peoples continued insistence on blaming our, at best, average calibre local politicians.

  2. Bullseye says:

    The back to back hurricanes had a major factor in these numbers. Hotels lay empty for weeks as a result as so many bookings were cancelled. Everyone in the tourism game was hurt. It’s a real shame.

    • Bullseye says:

      I wish to retract this comment as I was mistaken. the hurricanes would have impacted the 4th quarter so these numbers will only get worse to end the year!

  3. somuchless says:

    Nothing new.

  4. Nikp says:

    I live in Montreal, and was once in Bermuda, a year ago. I had a very nice trip and fell in love with the Island and the people. I am happy to see there is an increase in Canadian visitors. But, the only city that has direct flights from Canada is Toronto. You should consider other cities like Montreal. It’s very hard to do a connecting flight during the winter months in Canada, because of many flight delays,from the bad weather we have. We try to avoid this, because it’s common to miss your connection.
    Maybe Bermuda should push to have direct flights from Montreal. It would open a new market. People from the province of Quebec travel alot, and we like new travel experiences and destinations. It’s a diffrent market from the rest of Canada. French Canadians love to play golf, and Bermuda would be a paradise for golfers during winter time, you should consider offering affordable golfing packages, it would be a winner.
    Many people here have heard of Bermuda and all of it’s beauty. But there is no marketing from you here in the province, so not many will go. Consider advertising in french for the french canadians, it will open a whole new market for you in Canada. But then again, we need a direct flight…

    • stunned... says:

      i just know the BTA are already all over this idea.

  5. Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

    GlobalHue was the ad agency during 2006-2008 period. They should be proud of their work!

    • Creamy says:

      Although for some reason Cox ditched them as soon as she took control.

      • Family Man says:

        And still no legislation that allows the Auditor Gen to follow the money.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Dreb, You sir, are actually more likable when you are not seen or heard from!!!! You have caused enough carnage for anyones lifetime!!!

  6. C James says:

    I’m sure Global Hue is proud of their work. We however are not proud of their work. They were too expensive, did little, and it meant money given to foreigners over Bermudians.

    Have a nice day Sir.

  7. bluebird says:

    That $85Billion printed in the US every month is not FREE you know as it
    does cost 7cents per $100 dollar note to print and the 1cent piece will
    cost 2cents to produce.
    So the FED printing more is not FREE money it is just worth less not worthless yet.
    Our buying power is decreasing by the day,we can have more money and we can print more money,lots more but it will “BUY LESS”.
    For example the African country called Zimbabawee do have a ONE MILLION POUND NOTE which will buy you a loaf of bread.

  8. Mr.Ed says:

    No Rocket Science here — nothing to do with no OBA,or PLP’ either’
    When the average Vacationer comes to Bermuda they look at the [ COST ] first.– its about how much they can afford,
    It cost on average $1800 each to Fly here, pay for Hotel accomodations for 4 nights , Transportation, Food, and get the hassles by costoms at the Airport at that.
    Why go though all of this when they can take a Cruise Ship Here with far less headaches for half the Price plus Meals and Intertainment included.– then see other destinations on the same Cruise.

    By AIR: 4 day Trip to Bermuda — Based on Arriving from US.east coast.– each
    Airline Ticket: $350
    Transportation: 150
    Food/Beverges: 300
    Hotel: 1200
    by Cruise Ship – it would be $ 800 – +

    • stunned... says:

      have you cruised lately, you get nickled and dime to death. you can spend nearly as much for the basics on a cruise ( the wine package, the soda and water deals, spa and indoor pool, surcharges for the decent restaurants…yeck) as an air trip – depending on the type of traveller – sometimes it’s better to go by air. Bermuda is perfect for that…sure they’ll spend the money but Bermuda is worth it.

      My idea for ad – Bermuda: Yes, we’re a little pricey but aren’t you worth it?