Lister On Tourism: “Fish Where The Fish Are”

April 11, 2013

Bermuda can achieve sustained tourism growth a number of factors including “fishing where the fish are” and defining our geographic market and exploiting it, Terry Lister said.

The Independent MP also said once we have our tourists on island we must ensure they have a great experience and convert to repeat visitors. “Every Bermudian has to take on the responsibility for showing our guests a good time,” said Mr Lister.

Mr Lister was speaking after the most recent tourism figures were released, which indicated that total arrivals to Bermuda decreased by 6% [or 40,065] in 2012 with the 615,171 total visitors a decrease from the 655,236 in 2011.

The Sandys South MP said, “The 2012 final tourism numbers have been released showing a 6% decline over the prior year. These figures can be interpreted in different ways. One is that the doldrums of the past decade have not been overcome.

“Successive Tourism Ministers claimed to have the answer to turning Tourism numbers around yet all failed to achieve any sustainable arrivals growth. Some critics will point a finger at the last Tourism Minister who also confidently claimed to have found the answer but the figures say that this isn’t so.

“What must happen now is that all parties in the Bermuda tourism business must avoid finger pointing for 2012. 2012 was the responsibility of the PLP Government. The responsibility for Tourism now falls to the OBA Government and, in particular, Minister Shawn Crockwell.

“As a first measure, let’s deal with the perennial cruise versus air travellers argument. Surely we acknowledge that the failure to boost land tourism numbers in the mid 2000′s led Minister Ewart Brown to engage in an aggressive cruise policy that saw cruise passenger arrivals reach levels never seen before.

“However, it was agreed that this measure was undertaken to keep tourists on island while the land based numbers rebounded, however they have not. I am confident, that following in Minister Brown’s footsteps, the OBA will seek to ‘manage’ the cruise numbers once land based arrivals show a sustained growth.

“How does Bermuda achieve this sustained growth? Its not about Tourism Authority vs Tourism Board. Neither is it about whether the Tourism Department is leading the industry or vis versa. It’s about fishing where the fish are.

“The last 20 years have seen attempts to stimulate the German, Italian, Argentinian and Indian markets. How many tourists, how much repeat business these forays have produced is thought to be minimal,” continued Mr Lister.

“While it would be nice to have tourists from every country in the world, Bermuda needs to define its geographic market and then exploit it to the max. In my opinion, our prime market continues to be the East Coast corridor of the USA.

“We need fam tours across our market to reacquaint tourism professionals with Bermuda and what its has to offer. We must ensure our online presence is top of mind so that we have a good chance of securing that traveller who makes his decision based on his own internet research.

“Bermuda needs packages that compete with those that we see promoting other holiday destinations. Although we are aiming at the wealthy traveller, no one ignores a ‘good deal.’ We must present Bermuda as that good deal.

“Bermuda’s hotels must ensure that quality is there. Our hotels are priced at a six star level. We must be sure that what the guest receives is six star quality. Performance standards and delivery must be at the very highest.

“Specialty markets should be used to attract people seeking different experiences. We have seen much success from our sports marketing team bringing teams of various types here. We must work harder to promote our World Heritage status also.

“Once we have our tourists on island we must ensure they have a great experience and convert to repeat visitors. Shopkeepers have a key role to play. We need goods that will be must buys for our guests. Again value is key.

“It is a well known fact that our goods are more expensive that one would find in other destinations. Rather than fretting over this, we must provide outstanding service at the customer contact level. All shop staff must get the message.

“Lastly, renowned for our friendliness, Bermudians must show the warmth and friendliness that we displayed in past. Of course times are hard here but our guests don’t want to hear this. They want to know how they can enjoy themselves in Bermuda. Every Bermudian has to take on the responsibility for showing our guests a good time,” concluded Mr Lister.

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (15)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Family Man says:

    Does this mean we should give up on the idea of attracting Chinese tourists and Bollywood fans?

    Did he come to this conclusion recently or was he just too afraid to mention the obvious during the time his prior party loving people were on their world tours?

  2. Price says:

    LOLOLOLOL Lister. A few weeks ago I was in Jamaica. The hotel was $145 plus tax for all inclusive. The temp was 82. Mr. Lister it’s about price and it will always be about price. Bermuda has out priced itself. November I was in Vegas I payed $89 a night.

    • C.B.A. says:

      Agree entirely. Bermuda cannot compete in price anymore. BUT we have a good product that can still be saved. We need to continue with our cruise ship visitors because they bring in quite a lot. However, we need to attract the wealthy to stay in our hotels (who else can afford our prices?)and spend money on this island. In order to do this we need to reinvent ourselves. We cannot charge outrageous amounts of money when there isn’t much here. We don’t have any nightlife, our resteraunts can do with an upgrading etc.

    • 1minute says:

      The BIU priced us out…. The cost of union staff in the hotels is a lot higher than in those other places

      • YADON says:

        No , IB priced us out . No one can compete with the rents they pay . The BIU tried to make sure Bermudians can afford to live in their own country. Would you prefer people worked 40 plus hours a week and had to be homeless cause they cant afford rent and food.

  3. Um Um Like says:

    “2012 was the responsibility of the PLP Government.”

    This is probably the smartest thing this man has ever said and will ever say.

  4. Liars/Truth says:

    all l got out of the was “exploit”

    Well they sure did enough of that, lets move on now…..

  5. concerned Family Man says:

    Why not fish were the big fish are? From the East Coast we get cruise ship passengers nowadays, not hotel guests. I think it was wise (and it started late last year under Lister and the PLP) to look for new “fish pools” especially Germany. There are 80 million Germans plus the neighboring countries Poland, Czech Rep., Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark who can drive to Frankfurt by train or car. Germany is the strongest economy in Europe. Germans are world champion in traveling. However, there is still no direct flight, to get here form Germany you either have to go through GB and change airports in London (which makes the long trip about 4 to 5 hours longer because you need to arrive at Gatwick 2 hours before departure, or you go through the US which is a longer flight as well, involves US immigration, and thus at least 2 hours overlay and change of airlines, which is a risk if the first flight is delayed. The “first class only” flights tried by Dr Brown (We know he only flies first class) with $5000 a ticket were just too expensive even for the Germans. They fly in the thousands to Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Calcun with all inclusive for 2 weeks for 2000+ Euro with double occupancy. However, they also fly to Manhattan for a week with hotel prices at $500 a night. I went to Jamaica last year, never again! I felt so locked in in the hotel due to crime rates. We need to market Bermuda as a safe and beautiful destination for weddings, golf, water sports, explorations, and language classes (almost every German family with children will send their teenagers at pone point to a English Language holiday camp to improve their school English). Get the message out that it is safe to walk to a restaurant in the evening, or window shopping or to discover little bays and coves.

  6. Tolerate says:

    Mr. Lister brings up a good point in that we should use or strengths to encourage tourist to visit here by basically doing what we do best even better.
    There is definitely a place to explore new avenues as we have to evolve with the rest of the world, but when you have a product that has strong points, you ensure you don’t sacrifice them.
    We often hear about how Spring Break was back in the days compared to what they are now. We talk about the importance of College kids enjoying their stay during that time as these will be the memories that will decide where they vacation when they are finished school and are out in the real world.
    I have a twist to this and a suggestion.
    First, it is too cold in Bermuda to hold such functions during that time of the year. Sorry, we cannot manipulate the weather. Also, College students who go on Spring Break don’t always graduate and become financially sound to be return visitors to BDA. I’m not saying move away from the whole “College Break” initiative, but maybe look at another way of approaching this; bettering your chances of the return visitors.
    Middle to end of May, most Colleges/Universities sit Final Exams. For the students who are in their last year, this is followed up by Graduation. As this take place late May, early June, why not move to host “College Graduation Trips”. After all; with the weather being more favorable, and the college kids being GRADUATES, the chance of a more stable financial audience can be reached.
    Market “Graduation Rates”, offering packages for groups/schools with banners of their College/University visually showing at Hotels participating.
    Thinkg of the memories it will bring to our non-graduate visitors when they see their alumni proud and strong being displayed in Bermuda.
    Just a thought.

  7. Forgive, Never Forget, But Forgive and hold hands again says:

    ……………..sorry I meant your “Bermuda is So Much More” $350 + grats + govt tax hotel room.

  8. thief says:

    The problem is the large sector of the community who does not want to recgognise our colonial heritage which attracts the fish where the fish are.

    Furthermore, many of these fish are s**t biblers and taste bad and should be insulted at every chance according to LV and Betty Trump for example, and possibly Marc Bean too!

  9. Amazed says:

    There is nothing new in this response and I agree with Price about the cost factor. It was pointed out recently that we do not have a compelling reason for people to come here versus the better hotel deals and warmer teperatures in other islands to the south. It would be nice for Mr. Lister to offer suggestions as to how we might get prices down since as he says everyone likes a deal!

  10. When we came to Bermuda we stayed at the Elbow Beach Hotel in a joke of a “suite”. The floor was so crooked you could put your glass on the coffee table and watch it slowly slide toward the other side. When we mentioned it to one of the pool staff he told us that the price of our suite was usually 400.00 per night. When we asked who in their right mind would pay that he, with a very sincere look, said “well they just tourists. They all rich anyway”. When we tried to explain that rich people don’t stay rich by letting themselves be ripped off, he just repeated himself and walked off.

    That kind of attitude is why Bermuda doesn’t have any tourists. I won’t even go into the rip-off cabbies who’ll take you the longest meandering route at 5 miles an hour to wherever you want to go. Thirty bucks from the airport to St. Georges one time. Bermuda? Never again!

  11. Common Sense says:

    Thank you Mr. Lister for speaking frankly and with the kind of insight that is needed. I know the political hacks will make snide or insulting comments but Terry Lister makes a lot of sense and it is refreshing to hear this kind of common sense approach to our tourism industry.