Business or Pleasure?


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?

MarketWatch reports:

“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.

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De Onion

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

The Limey

I expect the Government to try to spin the figures, but it was sloppy journalism on the Gazette’s part to use the words visitor, arrival and tourist as synonyms. They should know better.

Denis Pitcher

Well it serves as a perfect example to all the heavy PLP supporters who always claim that The Royal Gazette is a biased paper.
Their article ( was clearly biased in favor of government when they assumed that arrivals = tourists and titled it “Tourist arrivals jump 22.9% in 2006”

Over to you mainstream media

Denis Pitcher over at 21 Square follows up on my post of last night with his own take on the misinformation at the core of the latest “tourism” statistics. Money quote: We’re told that the numbers speak for themselves. Well…


Excellent observations Denis. Quite ironic really when considering the remarks made in yesterday’s Royal Gazette by Jim Howes regarding his work with the Premier: He’s always willing to listen to new proposals and didn’t want a ‘yes man’ to tell him what he wanted to hear. He’s very much a go-getter. And he likes to see a proactive approach. He’s certainly been very enthusiastic as far as using his contacts at a high level to help cultivate relationships with airline CEOs to bring in more airlines. He’s the type of person who respects facts and figures. You have to do… Read more »

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion

How come I don´t remember anyone asking these probing questions when tourist/visitor arrivals numbers were down? Could it have been that those questions would have given the government of the day a softer cushion to land on with the woeful numbers of the past? So why do we now here of these questions now? Numbers are numbers! The man, Dr. Ewart Brown, is doing something right. Give him credit where credit is due! Should we next look to hear questions from you all about whether or not we really have reduced airfares to and from the island? Constructive critism is… Read more »

Denis Pitcher

Just My Opinion, “How come I don´t remember anyone asking these probing questions when tourist/visitor arrivals numbers were down? Could it have been that those questions would have given the government of the day a softer cushion to land on with the woeful numbers of the past?” I’ve been asking these questions for years and happen to only now have a blog where I can ask them more publically. Simply because I was too young to ask questions when the UBP was in power is no justification for why I should not now. Was was right for those of Dr.… Read more »

big up
big up

Why didn’t people ask these questions before? Simple.
Back in the day the Minister used to report monthly tourist numbers in detail, not quarterly arrivals without the specifics.

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion

Denis Pitcher/Big up, Tourism has always been a pet project of mine. It was when I was in the hospitality industry and continues now that I am not. I seem to remember that the reports were given monthly as well. And they have changed that, but numbers are numbers. You can still see the detailed breakdown in the government statistics books. Does every arriving visitor = a paying tourist? No, of course not. But an increase in visitor numbers, in general, can be seen as, and is, an improvement for the island. Especially when you are comparing the like data… Read more »

Denis Pitcher

Big up,
“Back in the day the Minister used to report monthly tourist numbers in detail, not quarterly arrivals without the specifics.”
Can you direct me as to where such information was reported and when you mean by “back in the day”?
I’ve had the opportunity to check both the 1987 and 1997 digest’s of statistics and both referred to “Visitors” and not “Tourists”.