Exodus of Bermudan expats is threatening the island economy

Published:  8 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Money
An article in the Bermuda Sun is suggesting that the exodus from the island of expatriate workers is directly and indirectly harming the tourism industry’s revenue stream.

Expatriate workers on Bermuda regularly received visits from family and friends, with close on 39,000 air arrivals in 2009 down to visits to resident expats. By 2012, the numbers had fallen to 36,000, corresponding with an ongoing drop in the number of guest workers on the island, now down to 8,374, the lowest figure since 2002.

Hospitality businesses are worst hit by the decline in visitors, with one tourism source confirming the correlation between the two figures. The source, whose job involves day-to-day work with visitors, added that up until 2009 a steady flow of friends and families had arrived, but it’s drying up as more and more expat workers leave the island.

Spending by guest workers’ visitors represented a strong source of revenue, she continued, as the visitors were happy to visit two or three times annually and spend considerable amounts of money during their stay. Owner of the restaurant chain Island Restaurants Phil Barnett adds that many eateries have been badly affected due to the knock-on effect of guest workers returning to their home countries.

Obviously, Barnett says, fewer people on the island mean bad business for all sectors of the hospitality industry. Although guest workers’ visitors may not stay in hotels, they tend to eat out most of the time and buy gifts for friends back home.

There’s also a decline in visits to tourist attractions since 2009, he said. Transportation companies from British Airways to local taxi firms have also noticed a drop in revenue, with BA noting a decline in passengers and taxi drivers noting the fall in trade is even more noticeable in the low season, and store owners are equally concerned at the drop in tourist revenues.
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