"22 arrival of Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of the Gover nor of Canada. In the cold winter months she fled the harsh Canadian cli mate and discovered this island in the Atlantic Ocean with its mild tempera tures. Her enthusiasm for the island's beauty spread amongst the well-to-do of those days, with the result that in a relatively short space of time Bermuda gained its fame as an island paradise. 'Between the two world wars the tourist industry in Bermuda was al ready highly developed', explains Peter Smith, marketing director of the Ber muda Department of Tourism. 'But in the 'fifties tourism grew extremely quickly. Because the island is so small, we had to map out a careful tourist pol icy. For a period of thirty years we had a phasing policy to prevent large-scale changes in the environment. Over the past fifteen years a moratorium has been imposed on the building of new hotels and guesthouses.' So the authorities are aiming to pre vent an uncontrolled growth in accom modation. At the same time the quality of the existing accommodation has to he safeguarded. Besides this, the de partment is also active in tourist pro motion work. From its offices in Frankfurt and London it informs the European tourist about Bermuda via brochures, advertising and the produc tion of films and video presentations. The Department of Tourism's Euro pean activities are a response to the trend that is expected in the years ahead. The number of visitors from the United States will decline (to an esti mated 77% of the total), whilst there will be growing interest from the U.K. and Europe. The total number of tourists vis iting Bermuda each year will, the De partment expects, remain the same. Economy Tourism is the principal source of income on Bermuda The island's econ omy depends on it for 65%. Eleven thousand people have jobs directly or indirectly linked to tourism. The re maining 35% is accounted for by the in ternational business sector, which pro vides employment for more than five thousand people. 'This sector is grow ing rapidly and brings in more revenue than tourism', claims Grant Gibbons, managing director of Gibbons Company Limited and Chairman of the Sales Di vision of the Chamber of Commerce. Ac cording to Gibbons, Bermuda is cur rently at a crossroads in its economic history. 'In the next few years major decisions will have to be taken on how much we need to slow down our economic growth rate so as to preserve the island's character. We have to choose between the environment and business.' The problem facing Bermuda is that the island is simply too small for the number of people staying there (whether permanently or as visitors). Population growth as a result of immig ration is therefore watched with eagle eyes by the local authorities. 'The is land's infrastructure is not suitable for so many people', explains Grant Gib bons. In the case of international businesses expertise has to be recruited from outside, as Bermuda's very limited potential workforce - the island has no involuntary unemployment - does not comprise enough employees with the specialist expertise. But, for the reasons outlined above, the government is put ting the brake on the recruitment of specialists from outside the island. One thing is certain: Bermuda will never turn into a sort of Monte Carlo, with tower blocks and overcrowded streets. Tourism is too important a source of revenue to let that happen. And if the tourists stayed away, that would be a severe financial blow for the country's economy. And might even prove its death-knell. Frozen noses Bermuda is popular for its mild cli mate. Contrary to what many people think, Bermuda is not a tropical island. The sun shines there abundantly during many months of the year, but the island does have a winter period as well, yet we shouldn't immediately imagine people walking round with frozen noses. During the summer, which lasts from March through October, the day time temperature can climb to around 90°F (33°C). Frost is unknown. The wea ther on Bermuda in winter is unpredict able. As is proved by the saying: 'If you don't like the weather on Bermuda, stick around for another ten minutes.' On average it rains on Bermuda 140 to 150 days a year, though this does not mean that it rains all day. Often there may only be a brief cloudburst. The loc als are happy about that, since the is land has no natural water sources. Every homeowner has to provide for his own individual water supply. He does that by collecting rainwater from his roof and piping it into storage tanks un derneath the house. As Bermuda is not polluted, this water does not have to be purified before being used. The absence of natural water sources was the main reason why a brew ery group decided fifteen years ago against building a small brewery on the island. Water is one of the most impor- THE WORLD OF HEINEKEN

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World of Heineken | 1989 | | pagina 22