Back near the end of June, I provided an example of what a fair and honest review of the state of our tourism industry should look like as seen from the perspective of this writer. Political spin not included.
It was noted that
“Due to new US passport regulations introduced in January, seasonal tourism numbers for April took a slight decline and we expect this decline to continue in the following months as Americans adjust to the new requirements. Thankfully, the US immigration office has recently reconsidered their passport policy and opted to delay the requirement until October, only requiring travelers to have photo ID and proof of a passport application.”
For those in the know, this US passport regulation change is not new as it was originally introduced in the early part of this year. The delay in October and less restricted requirements may have helped salvage our summer with regards to tourism. However, when noting a recent Royal Gazette article, it is interesting to note a couple things.
A warning from Premier Brown with regards to the impact of the new restrictions.
New restrictions requiring US citizens must travel with passports could damage tourism, Premier Ewart Brown has warned.
Oddly, while hotel occupancy isn’t as high as it was touted in may, it is up 6 percent while arrivals are down. What this means is up for debate.
Tourism in Bermuda has had mixed results in the second quarter with hotel occupancy levels up to 84 percent, an increase of six percent compared to last year. However air arrivals for the second quarter were down by 1.5 percent to 99,594.
Here’s a gem worth noting.
Cruise passengers are still exempt from the new laws until 2009.
For those eager for more info-porn, feel welcome to read the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Latest 2007 Tourism Statistics Tables (Sept. 17, 2007), for the full picture of tourism throughout the caribbean. Here are some exerpts with relation to Bermuda.
During Jan-Jul, overall arrivals were 182,892, an increase of 2.4% over last year. Thus far, the winter yielded an increase of 8.7% while the summer is down 1.3%.
Arrivals for April were -3.9%, May -0.4%, June -0.8% and July -2.7
Up 10.7% to 205,732
Questions which arise are whether the discount airlines have truly had the desired impact in comparison to the unknown amount of subsidizing which may have occurred.
Overall, things appear to have stuck along the earlier predicted trend and it shall be interesting to note the impacts that the full introduction of the US passport requirements in October have on air passengers as we progress into the off-season.