The B Islands Mix-Up: Media Confusion After Hurricane Hits Barbuda Causes Bermuda Cancellations

It was Barbuda, not Bermuda, that was decimated by Hurricane Irma in September.

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sunday November 12, 2017 – Bermuda is now trying to regain lost business that resulted from Hurricane Irma, even though the island wasn’t hit by that Category 5 storm.

Chief executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) Kevin Dallas, said that although the island was not hit by any storms, several outlets confusing Bermuda and disaster-struck Barbuda, inspired some visitors to cancel their Bermuda trips.

“I think just about everyone in Bermuda woke up at some point in September to a message asking if they are all right. That’s because we had The New York Times, the BBC and NBC News all mix up Bermuda and Barbuda,” he said. “The ramifications of that are pretty quick and immediate; people cancelled.”

Dallas said that while the island recorded its seventh consecutive quarter of growth, year-on-year air arrivals fell slightly for September. Hotel bookings had been up 12 per cent at the start of that month, but a rash of cancellations came as hurricanes battered the Caribbean.

“Interestingly, when we look at September of this year, when we were not hit by a hurricane, and compare it to October of last year when we were, we saw more cancellations this September because of the media confusion,” Dallas noted.

Ten flights and five cruise visits were cancelled because of hurricanes in September, but the island is expected to see three additional cruise visits before the end of the year.

And Dallas says the BTA has been working to spread the word that the island is open for business.

“We are now on the offence to try to capture displaced business, taking both leisure travel and group travel that would have gone to the Caribbean and redirecting them to Bermuda instead,” he said.

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