a person who visits, as for reasons of friendship, business, duty, travel, or the like.
One that arrives or has arrived.
One who travels for pleasure.
First quarter tourism statisistics review
So, a visitor is any person who visits, an arrival is any person who arrives but a tourist is someone who travels only for pleasure? Ok, lets use these definitions as we review the first quarter tourism statistics:
I have been pleased to announce month by month, increased visitor arrivals during a period that traditionally had all sorts of adjectives to describe it and none of them were positive. Today is no different and I am proud to say that if the first quarter of this year is a sign of things to come, 2007 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Tourism arrivals.
Wait. If they’re visitor arrivals, do those numbers include business travellers here for international business purposes?
January arrivals up 24.71%
February arrivals up 9.01%
March arrivals up 32.25%
Wait. Again, I’m confused. Do arrivals count for all who arrived on a plane, including Bermudians? How many were Bermudians and how many were not? Who was travelling for business and who was travelling for pleasure? Does this include residents who leave the island due to the cheap fares of the new discount airlines?
Total visitor arrivals for the first three months of the year have all resulted in increases, with a total quarterly increase of 23.47% over the same period in 2006. This increase of more than 9,000 visitors marks the fourth consecutive quarter of growth for the island and the highest first quarter visitor arrival statistic since 2000.
There are those words again… Visitor? Is a visitor a tourist or is a visitor anyone who comes to the island?
Ladies and gentlemen, the numbers speak for themselves!
Actually, they’re horribly ambigous and are misleading without a proper breakdown, which was not provided.
This comes at a time when, according to the CHA Weekly News, “The US State Department says it is cranking out U.S. passports in historically high numbers to meet an unprecedented surge in demand caused by tough
new immigration rules.” There was initial concern that the new rules would affect our first quarter
results; however the results underscore the growing demand for the Bermuda product in the
Where is this quote as google turned up nothing?
What the industry is saying
This when Fodor’s suggests ‘Need a U.S. Passport? Expect Delays’. Does this means increased demand and limited supply? What was it like when Bermudians needed their passports stamped? Then there is United States Senator Norm Coleman who is “[pressing] the State Department for quick action to address the massive passport application backlog”. “[Which] is primarily a result of passport applications that have increased by over 40% from the same time period last year”
What do the numbers say?
“About 1.1 million travelers applied for a passport in November, a 60% rise from the same month a year earlier, Royster said. In fiscal year 2006, more than 12 million people applied for passports, compared with about 10 million a year earlier.”
Wait a second. Didn’t I write about a potential tourism crisis looming on the horizon? Let’s do a quick flashback.
According to an August edition of the New York Times, only 27% of Americans are believed to have passports.
Well, if Wikipedia is accuate, the 2007 population estimate for the United States is 301,566,000 people. So 27% of that is some 81,422,800 and lets add another 6 million to account for the other half of 2006, so approx 87.5 million people. Let’s assume there is even a 50% increase in passport applications for the year, thats still only 18 million total processed in the year. Which only adds up to at most 105.5 million people of 301.5 million, some 35%. That doesn’t even assume renewals.
Also, it was suggested by Brian Major, spokesman for the Cruise Lines International Association that last year, 20 percent to 30 percent of cruise passengers used passports as documentation, with the rest using birth certificates or driver’s licenses.
Is it presumptious to assume that tourism hasn’t been impacted when the cruise season hasn’t begun? If only 35% of people actually get around to having passports, how many will opt for a local vacation instead of the hassle. Especially if there are delays and frustrations as outlined by Fodors and Marketwatch?
The real numbers
The real question is how many $$$ were spent in Bermuda. Visitors matter nothing if they arn’t leaving their money here, unless you just like the joy of entertaining. We’re told that the numbers speak for themselves. Well here are the numbers according to the number of times the following words appear in the first quarter statistics.
Arrival: Occurs 19 times
Visitor: Occurs 16 times
Tourist: Occurs 0 times.
Remember those definitions above?
I’ll belive it’s been a banner quarter when you can tell me in statistics that include non-bermudian, bermudian, resident, non-resident, business, pleasure and hopefully how much is approximated to have been contributed to the economy by each group. Until then, these numbers mean nothing to me.