The case against cruise

Some people may see the loss of cruise ships in Hamilton next year as a bad thing.  Personally, I think it’s great.  I believe cruise isn’t worth the time or money we spend on it.

Courtesy of data compiled from the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Quarterly Bulletins of Statistics and yearly Bermuda Digest’s of Statistics, here is a breakdown to support my case.


Here is a chart of Air vs. Cruise arrivals.   What you’ll note is that while overall arrivals are up considerably since 1998, they are largely comprised of a heavy increase in cruise visitors over air visitors.  Cruise visitors attributing significantly more than they did in 1998 while air visitors still lagging 1998 numbers.


Here is a chart of average visitor expenditure.  What you’ll note is that while the total average expenditure for both cruise and air visitors combined hovers around $1400, air visitors heavily outperform cruise by about 6 to 1.


Each air visitor contributes 6 times as much to the local economy as each cruise visitor which is demonstrated by the next chart.  Note how most of the increase in expenditure came from air visitors and not cruise.


Despite total arrivals being way up according to the first chart, some 75,000 more visitors in 2006 than there were in 1998, we actually earned $30 million less.

Does this suggest that we should be focusing all of our energy on maximizing the expenditure of air visitors?  Perhaps by improving the quality of their stay we could do without cruise visitors entirely?   Here’s some food for thought.  Look at the total expenditure graph for 2006 and note how the air expenditure for 2006 matches the total expenditure for 2005.  That means if we’d had no cruise visitors in 2006 we still would have made just as much money as in 2005.

Less cruise means less people on our roads, our beaches, less garbage, less power consumed, and more for us and our air based tourists.  Should we be focusing 100% of our energy on ensuring a quality and prestigious vacation for air visitors in order to improve Bermuda tourism and forget about cruise all together?

2 thoughts on “The case against cruise

  1. Hi Denis,
    I enjoy your blog and congratulate you on the time and effort you have put into bringing us some ‘real’ information about tourism in Bermuda. This is the information that should be released to the Bermuda public but the Tourism Dept. obviously do not want us to know this. Based on your figures, one wonders why this Government is planning to spend multi-millions of our tax dollars on a second berth for mega cruise ships at Dockyard? As you say, more congestion on our roads, at our beaches etc. I guarantee that we will be unable to accomadate the influx of two mega ships at once up there.
    Keep up the good work. Your readers appreciate it.

  2. Ditto – your work is top notch. This kind of critical analysis is often missing.
    For some neat work on the US economics check out, they’ve done a really nifty series comparing US Presidents (if you’re into that whole performance attribution thing, and let’s face it, who isn’t?)

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