HAMILTON: Bermuda recorded a four per cent decline in tourist arrivals during the first six months of the year, with tourism officials blaming the cancellation on at least four cruise ship calls.
“We knew going into the second quarter that there would be 15 less cruise calls scheduled as compared to the same period in 2012,” said Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell. “However, this decline was exacerbated by the cancellation of four further calls due to the cancellation of the Emerald Princess prior to the completion of the Heritage Wharf repairs, and three cancellations due to a fire on the Grandeur of the Seas. The quarter thus ended with 133,676 people cruising here.”
Figures released show that for the second quarter of the year, tourist arrivals dropped by more than 12 per cent compared to 2012, when a total of 210,964 visitors came here during the months of April, May and June.
The figures follow a four per cent decline in the total number of visitors in the first quarter of the year and bring total arrivals for the year to date to 244,220, compared to 275,109 in the first six months of 2012.
While air arrivals in the second quarter were similar to last year’s figure – 75,013 – cruise and yacht arrivals fell significantly.
Cruise passenger arrivals were down by more than 27,000 or 17 per cent, from 161,351 in the second quarter of 2012 to 133,676 in the second three months of this year. Yacht arrivals were down by 43 per cent, from 4,001 in 2012 to 2,275 in 2013.Crockwell blamed the decline in yacht arrivals on the fact that the biennial Newport to Bermuda race was not held this year.
Reduced air service by Air Canada saw a drop in visitors from that market, while the United Kingdom and Europe saw an eight per cent increase in air passengers.
Crockwell said arrivals from the rest of the world fell by 11 per cent “partly because of the increased arrivals from the Caribbean in April of 2012 due to the CARIFTA Games”.
Hotel and convention business, which had declined in the first quarter, rebounded in the second quarter with increases of 14 and 27 per cent, respectively.
“As we continue our efforts through the third quarter, we are particularly heartened by the reports we are receiving from our hotel partners,” said Crockwell. “So far in the peak months of May, June and July, which is when it counts, we have welcomed over 5,000 more air visitors, a six per cent increase over the same period in 2012. Looking ahead to the fall, we are receiving some encouraging reports of partners who are seeing demand for rooms straight through October, except the traditionally soft period in September after Labour Day in the United States.”