Learn about Bermuda's tourism and the local attractions and accommodations in this traveling video by Seasoned Traveler.
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George: Farming and fishing followed by rum running eventually gave way to tourism. First came the upper crust in Victorian times. In fact, Queen Victoria’s daughter was an early visitor. A hotel in Hamilton is named The Princess in her honor. Word of her trip lured others to these bejeweled islands on the sea and by the 20th century the small stream of tourists became a rising wave. It changed these islands forever. Now, it’s a prosperous place. Bermuda is Britain’s largest overseas territory. It has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Most of its 6500 residents are doing just fine and that means Bermuda is relatively safe for seasoned travelers. Male: Bermuda is very clean, safe. The people have a worldwide reputation for a number one export which was friendliness. We’re known to be a very friendly group of people who will wish you wherever you go a bermudiful day. Female: I’ve been to Bermuda four times. I’ve been twice or three times with my husband and once with the whole family, with my two daughters and I’m here this time because my daughter, Caroline is planning her wedding in Bermuda. We love Bermuda because the beaches are beautiful, the island is very clean, the people are very pleasant and best of all for us, it’s a very quick hour and 40 minutes flight from Newark Airport and it’s perfect for a short getaway. George: And folks like her also flock here from Canada, Britain and other nations. Another draw is the shopping which is especially good for Americans, that’s because a Bermudian dollar is exactly the same value as the US dollar. Merchants here accept both currencies interchangeably and that means you don’t have to waste time converting your money and you can spend more time spending it. Another reason Bermuda is so well off, it’s a tax free haven luring corporations to set up headquarters here. Many companies from the US and other nations have moved operations offshore to Bermuda. Hamilton, the capital has become a financial center. That’s because Bermuda is one the world’s leading insurance and reinsurance headquarters. Most business people and tourists alike come to Bermuda by air. Bermuda International Airport is the site of a former US naval air station. Many tourists arrive on cruise liners which dock at Hamilton, the town of St. George on the east end and at the former naval dockyard at the western tip of the islands. For a small island chain, Bermuda has about 50 hotels, cottage colonies and other accommodations. The earliest hotels were in Hamilton and St. George. But early in the 20th century when the tourism boom started, developers wanted to move facilities closer to the beaches. They had avoided the south shore because ferocious storms had ravaged that area in previous years. In 1910, what is now Elbow Beach Bermuda became the first hotel on the south shore. It looked a lot different then and it was actually quite close to the ocean. Naysayers poopooed the venture warning that high seas and strong winds would lead to Elbow Beach’s demise. They said the hotel was unsafe but the hotel withstood the criticism and the weather. People came and now Elbow Beach has been joined by two dozen other hotels and cottage colonies along or near the south shore and there are several private clubs, housing developments and several golf courses. Because tourism is such an integral part of Bermuda’s economy, it stands to reason, it has provided steady long term income for many Bermudians. Danny Gilbert has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 40 years. Danny: I like the job because you get closer to the people. You greet them at the door when they come in. People getting out of the taxi say, he’s still here, I’m not going anywhere. Not yet. I’ll be here when you get back. George: And Mazie Farge still works everyday arranging flowers for dinner at a local upscale resort even though she’s 90 years old. Mazie: You see at my age, I have families of course but this age, when you get to my age, you like to be independent and be able to pay your own rent and not depend on anybody so we’re very lucky in Bermuda because we can take, the age doesn’t matter as long as you can work, you can work. There’s no restriction here which is quite good because old people, they like to be occupied. George: And what’s even more remarkable is that she still rides a motorscooter from home to work and back everyday. Now, the hotels like the ones Mazie and Danny work for, run the gama from costly cottages and high priced hotels to more affordable. Only one hotel here is all inclusive and it’s not on the beach. There’s a cottage colony on the west end of Bermuda. It often welcomes British and Saudi Arabian royalty as well as the rich and the famous. And sometimes their rich and the famous get involved themselves. For example, the Ariel Sands Resort on the south shore is owned by actor Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones. They weren’t here when I visited, too bad for me. The cottage hotel has a special symbol out there in the Atlantic, a statue of Ariel herself. You can also stay in B&Bs and you can rent single homes or cottages for a week or two or even longer. Keep in mind though that temperatures can go down just as the prices do if you come in February. While in summer on the other hand, it can be hot and substropically steamy. So it may be too cool for the pool or the beach but it’s a perfect time for golf. Bermuda has more courses per capita than any place else on earth. Come for a week and play a different course everyday. There are public links, courses at major hotels and private clubs and how’s this for a backdrop? When you hang up your cleats for awhile, there’s a lot to see on this little group of midocean islands.