Death by volume

Chatting with a tour operator friend reveals hearsay evidence of what we’ve
long suspected and will likely be confirmed by statistics (if they’re released)
that volume tourism means more is less.  Our friend tells us that since the new
mega ships can cut costs based on volume, cruises have become more accessible
for lower classes of tourists.  While indeed everyone deserves a vacation it
sounds like a far cry from the type of tourists we used to cater to and a lot
less likely that they’ve got the disposable income to blow to sustain our
own.

The word on the ground suggests that tourists who hunt for the cheapest
vacation are not proving to be big spenders when it comes to leaving the ship.
Dockyard restaurants are described as being as busy for lunch as dinner on a
Friday or Saturday night.  Not packed, but reasonably filled.  That may seem
reasonable until you realize that two cruise ships means and extra 6000 people
and they usually aren’t here on the weekends.

As we’ve
covered before
, while government may get it’s head tax to slowly pay off the
many millions it’s invested in the dockyard piers, are
Bermudians really better off?  More volume
means a higher expectation for price competition.  More price competition means
lower profits for higher people served.  Lower profits for higher people served
means lower wages and more stress.  Higher people served means higher
frustration and lower quality of service.  Lower wages means more low skilled
expats filling jobs Bermudians could have been filling.  More low skilled expats
means more packing into homes saving every penny so they can live the good life
when they return to their own home countries.  It seems everyone is winning,
except Bermudians.

Let’s remember, cruise ship profits are funneled off island.  That means all
jobs on the cruise ships are foreign as are most earnings.  We collect no taxes
from those workers.  All spending on accommodation, food and entertainment (even casinos) on
those cruise ships all goes to the cruise ship companies.  Taking a cursory view
here, for all the money we’ve blown on the new piers and all the hassle we’re
going through over the “’we’re risking destroying tourism if we don’t approve
casinos on cruise ships’” we well could have skipped the middle man, spent the
pier money on purchasing and outfitting our own luxury cruise ship and had
all spending go to Bermudians and Bermudian businesses.  Just a thought.

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