Bermuda is slowly coming out of more than six straight years of economic recession. Bermuda’s real gross domestic product increased for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q3 2015, a 4.4% increase over the same period in 2014 after adjusting for inflation of 1.8%. The primary driver was a $53 million gain in the surplus on trade in goods and services, primarily from household consumption, which increased 3.8%. However, job losses and business closures continue to affect the overall economy.
While U.S. visitors to Bermuda are critical to the island’s tourism industry, the number has declined overall since the 1990s. In 2015, 78% of U.S. air arrivals originated in the U.S. That number has increased from 72% in 2008, but is still down when compared to 83.9% in 1990. The east coast of the United States remains Bermuda’s top source market for vacation arrivals, specifically New York and Boston which accounted for 50% of all U.S. vacation air arrivals in 2015.
The number of air and cruise passengers from the U.S. totaled 464,000 in 2000. That number fell to 449,677 American passengers in 2008 and has fallen further to 435,600 in 2015. In 2015, yacht arrivals have declined by 28% compared to 2014. This can be attributed to the biannual Newport to Bermuda race hosted in 2014 with 2015 being the off year. Overall, U.S. yacht arrivals have declined from 3,014 in 2008 compared with 2,213 in 2014 and 1,113 in 2015 (Source: Bermuda Tourism Authority).
In 2015, 71% of Bermuda’s imports came from the U.S. Areas of opportunity for U.S. investment are principally in the re-insurance and financial services industries. As of 2016, an estimated eight thousand U.S. citizens also live in Bermuda.