Why is this a terrible and misleading chart? AKA: the PLP didn’t actually destroy tourism

Another lesson learned?  If people don’t understand why a chart is misleading then they can miss that you’ve made a chart so ridiculous it was meant to be humourous, not taken seriously.  So perhaps it it helpful to point out why this chart was terrible and misleading.

1. The y-axis has been set to 200,000 which as you can see by the markings makes it appear as if the change between 2012’s number and 1995’s number is significantly larger than it is in reality.

Contrast the above chart vs the one below.  Notice how significant of a difference it makes?  The decline represents roughly 1/3 of the overall numbers however when depicted with a y-axis of 200,000 it gives a perception of a 4/5th decline.

2.  The date chosen of 1995 is a subtle detail that makes it look like we were on an uptrend before the decline and betrays the long term truth.

Choosing simply 1995 doesn’t tell a complete picture.  If we take numbers going as far back as I could find we see a the trend was part of a larger decline.  For example, had I chosen to start the chart in 1993 instead of 1995, it would have emphasized the decline has beginning under the UBP (labelled OBA in the chart).

3. The pre-1998 and post 2012 years are both labeled OBA even though pre-1998 would have been the UBP

This was a jab at the OBA but not a fair comparison.  A fair comparison separates out each party to show the details of each.

Bonus points?

  • The chart only focuses on “Air Arrivals” and not people who specifically came on vacation.  It also doesn’t focus overall on overall visitor spending which is the most important number in tourism.

  • If you look at the long term trend as a rolling average (this means you take the average of 5 values to smooth out the peaks and troughs) you can see the general peak in the 80s and the decline began in the 90s under the UBP.
  • The decline happened to coincide with the rise of international business.
  • Likely reasons for the decline are rising costs that made a Bermuda vacation more expensive while offering less value.  We also saw significant changes in the number of hotel rooms available over that time period with hotels that were increasingly aging and rarely renovated.