Omni Country Guide for Bermuda T

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Section   1    Contact Addresses

          2    Overview

          3    General Information

          4    Money

          5    Duty Free

          6    Public Holidays

          7    Health

          8    Accommodation

          9    Sport & Activities

          10   Social Profile

          11   Business Profile

          12   Climate

          13   History and Government


Location: Western Atlantic Ocean.

Country dialling code: 1 441.

Diplomatic representation: Bermuda is a British Dependent Territory, and is represented
abroad by British Embassies see United Kingdom section.

Bermuda Department of Tourism
Street address: Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda Postal address: PO
Box HM465, Hamilton HM BX, Bermuda Tel: 292 0023. Fax: 292 7537. E-mail: Website:

Department of Immigration
Government Administration Building, 30 Parliament Street, Hamilton HM12,
BermudaTel: 295 5151 ext 1378. Fax: 295 4115. Website:

The UK Passport Service
London Passport Office, Globe House, 89 Ecclestone Square, London SW1V 1PN, UK
Tel: (0870) 521 0410 (24-hour national advice line) or (020) 7901 2150 (visa enquiries for British
Overseas Territories). Fax: (020) 7271 8403.E-mail: or or hours: Mon-Fri
0730-1900; Sat 0900-1600. Regional offices in: Belfast, Durham, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newport
and Peterborough. Personal callers for visas should go to the agency window in the collection
room of the London office.

Bermuda Tourism UK/Europe
c/o Hills Balfour LTD, Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9EU, UK
Tel: (020) 7202 6378. Fax: (020) 7928 0722. E-mail: bermudatourism@hillsbalfour.comWebsite:

Bermuda Department of Tourism
675 Third Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA Tel: (212) 818 9800. Fax: (212)
983 5289. E-mail: Website:

US Consulate General
Street address: Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire DV 03, Bermuda Postal address: PO
Box HM325, Hamilton HM BX, Bermuda Tel: 295 1342. Fax: 295 1592.

Bermuda Department of Tourism
Suite 1004, 1200 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 2A5, Canada Tel: (416) 923 9600.
Fax: (416) 923 4840. Website:

The Canadian Consulate in New York deals with enquiries relating to Bermuda (see USA section).


Bermuda consists of a chain of some 180 coral islands and islets lying 1046km (650 miles) off the
coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in the Atlantic Ocean. Its coastlines are characterised by
small bays with beaches of fine pale pink coral sand and surrounding vivid blue-green waters.
Inland is an abundance of subtropical plants and flowers. Hamilton is Bermuda's capital city,
situated at the end of Hamilton Harbour on the inner curve of the ‘fish hook’. Small ferries
operate in the Hamilton Harbour area, and the larger ferries travel through the Great Sound to
the West End. The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo is located in Flatts Village in Hamilton
Parish. At the far eastern end of the chain of islands is the 17th-century Town of St George,
Bermuda's first capital, and which was awarded status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site from the
UN in December 2000. The Town’s narrow lanes and historic landmarks appear much as they did
more than three centuries ago, and can boast of many excellent pubs, restaurants and shops.
Bermudans specialities include Bermuda lobster, shark hash and fish chowder laced with sherry
peppers and rum, and local drinks of Dark 'n Stormy, which consists of Goslings Bermuda Black
Seal rum, and Rum Swizzle. There are restaurants, cafes, bars and taverns to suit all pockets and
tastes. Most hotels and cottage colonies offer evening entertainment; the local musicians usually
feature the well-known and popular calypso, soca or reggae.


Area: 53.74 sq km (20.75 sq miles).

Population: 65,000 (official estimate 2005).

Population Density: 2,992 per sq km.

Capital: Hamilton. Population: 1100 (1991).

GEOGRAPHY: Bermuda consists of a chain of some 180 coral islands and islets lying 1046km
(650 miles) off the coast of Cape Hatteras. The seven largest of the islands are linked by bridges
and one causeway to form the principal mainland. There are no rivers or streams and the islands
are entirely dependent on rainfall for fresh water. Coastlines are characterised by a succession of
small bays with beaches of fine pale pink coral sand. The surrounding waters are a vivid blue-
green. Inland there is an abundance of subtropical plants and flowers.

Government: British Crown Colony since 1684. Gained internal autonomy in 1968. Head of
State: HM Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor Sir John Vereker since 2002. Head
of Government: Prime Minister Alex Scott since 2003.

Language: English is the official language. There is a small Portuguese population. Other
languages are spoken by Bermuda's residents originating from around the world.

Religion: Anglican, Roman Catholic, AME and Seventh Day Adventist and other Christian

Time: GMT - 4 (GMT - 3 from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 110 volts AC, 60Hz. American (flat) two-pin plugs are standard.



IDD is available. Country code: 1 441. Outgoing international code: 011. The internal
telephone system is operated by the Bermuda Telephone Limited. Bermuda numbers dialled from
within Bermuda should be prefixed with the last two digits of the country code (29 or 23) but
there are no conventional area codes.

Mobile telephone

GSM 1900. Operators are A&T Wireless ( and Mobility LTD
( Coverage is excellent. TDMA and AMPS (800 MHz) networks operated by
Cellular One (website: and Mobility LTD.


This service is available from many hotels and offices.


ISPs include Logic Communications (website: and NorthRock
Communications (website: There are Internet cafes in the Royal Naval
Dockyard, City of Hamilton and Town of St George.


Cable & Wireless Ltd operates Bermuda’s international telecommunications system. Cablegrams
may be sent from the C&W office in Hamilton.


Most letters will automatically travel airmail even if surface rates are paid, although paid-for
airmail will be given priority. Airmail letters to Europe take five to seven days. Poste Restante
facilities are available. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1700. In addition, the General Post
Office in Hamilton is open on Saturday mornings until 1200.


The main newspapers are The Mid-Ocean News (weekly), The Royal Gazette (daily) and The
Bermuda Sun (twice weekly).

Radio: BBC World Service (website: and Voice of America
(website: can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the
most up-to-date can be found online.


                Passport Required?        Visa Required?       Return Ticket Required?
British         Yes                       No                   Yes
Australian      Yes                       No                   Yes

Canadian       1                          No                    Yes
USA            Yes                        No                    Yes
OtherEU        Yes                        No/1                  Yes
Japanese       Yes                        No                    Yes

Note: Before entering Bermuda, it is essential to be in possession of either a return or onward
ticket to a country to which one has a legal right of entry. Anyone arriving in Bermuda and
intending to return to their own country via another one which requires a visa must obtain such a
visa before arrival in Bermuda. Visitors are advised to check details with the British Overseas
Territories Visa Section (see Contact Addresses section).

Restricted entry: Admission will be refused to travellers intending to immigrate from Bermuda
to the USA. Those who intend to visit the USA must possess an onward ticket to a country
beyond the USA and the necessary documents to enter that country.

PASSPORTS: Passport valid for six months after date of entry into Bermuda required by all
except: 1. nationals of Canada and the USA with an original birth certificate and official photo ID.

VISAS: Required by all except the following: (a) nationals of countries referred to in the chart
above, and of their overseas territories, except nationals of the Slovak Republic and Slovenia,
who do need a visa; (b) citizens of Commonwealth countries (except nationals of Ghana,
Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who do need a visa);(c) nationals of Andorra, Angola,
Argentina, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African
Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoro Islands, Congo (Dem Rep), Congo (Rep), Costa Rica,
Cote d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Korea
(Rep), Laos, Libya, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of),
Monaco, Mynamar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, The Phillippines,
Puerto Rico, Rwanda, San Marino, São Tomé e Principe, Senegal, Sudan, Surinam, Switzerland,
Taiwan (China), Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Note: (a) Visa controlled nationals who have the right to reside in the United States (Permanent
Resident), Canada (Permanent Resident) or the United Kingdom (no limit on stay in the United
Kingdom), and are in possession of proof of such status and a valid passport, do not require
Bermuda entry visas. (b) Transit passengers from countries mentioned above must continue to a
third country within five hours by the same aircraft, hold confirmed onward tickets and
documentation and not leave the airport.

Types of visa and cost: Tourist: £28.

Cost of Visa Conversion Table: £10US$18£20US$36 £30US$55£40US$73 £50US$91
£60US$109 £70US$127£80US$146 £90US$164£100US$182 £110US$200 £120US$218
£130US$236£140US$255 £150US$273

Validity: The permitted length of stay is initially three months. For extensions, permission should
be sought from the immigration authorities in Bermuda (see address below).

Application to: Visa Section at UK Passport Office; see Contact Addresses section.

Application requirements: (a) Valid passport with two blank pages. (b) One application form.
(c) Proof of onward or return ticket. (d) Fee payable in cash.

Working days required: Four weeks. Processing by post may take longer.

Temporary residence: Persons intending to take up residence and/or employment will require
prior authorisation from the Department of Immigration, Government Administration Building, 30
Parliament Street, Hamilton HM 12, Bermuda (tel: 295 5151 and/or ext 1378; fax: 295 4115).


Currency: Bermuda Dollar (BD$) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of BD$100, 50, 20,
10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of BD$1, and 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Note: The Bermuda Dollar is at par with the US Dollar.

Currency exchange: US Dollars are generally accepted at parity. It is illegal to exchange
money other than at authorised banks or bureaux de change.

Credit & debit cards: American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted at most large
hotels, shops and restaurants. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of
merchant acceptability and other services that may be available.

Traveller's cheques: US Dollar cheques are widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate
charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars.

Currency restrictions: There is no limit to the import of local or foreign currency, provided
declared on arrival. Unless especially authorised, the export of local currency is limited to
BD$250. There is no limit to the export of foreign currency. A police officer may seize and detain
any cash which is being imported into or exported from Bermuda if the officer has reasonable
grounds for suspecting that it directly or indirectly represents any person's proceeds of criminal
conduct or is intended by any person for use in any criminal conduct.

Exchange rate indicators
The following figures are included as a guide to the movements of the Bermuda Dollar against
Sterling and the US Dollar:DateAug '04Nov '04Feb '05May

Banking hours: This ranges between Mon-Fri 0900-1630, with one bank having additional
hours of Sat 1000-1500.


The following goods may be taken into Bermuda by travellers aged over 18 years without
incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars and 5kg of tobacco; 1 litre of spirits and
1 litre of wine.

Prohibited items: Spear guns for fishing. All visitors should declare any prescribed drugs on
arrival as regulations are strictly observed. Clearance of merchandise and sales materials for use
at trade conventions must be arranged in advance with the hotel concerned.


Jan 1 2005 New Year’s Day. Jan 3 New Year’s Day Holiday (forwarded to Monday). Mar 25 Good
Friday. May 24 Bermuda Day. Jun 13 Queen’s Birthday Celebrations. Jul 28 Emancipation Day. Jul
29 Somers' Day. Sep 5 Labour Day. Nov 11 Remembrance Day. Dec 25 Christmas Day. Dec 26
Boxing Day. Dec 27 Christmas Day Holiday (forwarded to Tuesday). Jan 1 2006 New Year’s Day.
Jan 2 New Year's Day (forwarded to Monday). Apr 14 Good Friday. May 24 Bermuda Day. Jun 12
Queen’s Birthday Celebrations. Aug 3 Emancipation Day. Aug 4 Somers' Day. Sep 4 Labour Day.
Nov 11 Remembrance Day. Dec 25-26 Boxing Day.


                         Special Precautions   Certificate Required
Yellow Fever             No                    No
Cholera                  No                    No
Typhoid and Polio        No                    N/A
Malaria                  No                    N/A

Health care: Health insurance is essential as medical costs are very high. The King Edward VII
Memorial Hospital, located in Paget Parish (near the city of Hamilton), is a 327-bed, acute and
long-term care facility that provides comprehensive medical care to the population of Bermuda
and overseas visitors.

Travel - International

AIR: Bermuda has no national airline, but British Airways operates regular weekly flights to and
from London Gatwick and Bermuda. Other airlines serving Bermuda include Air Canada, American
Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta, Iberia, United and US Airways.

Approximate flight times: To Bermuda from London is seven hours 45 minutes and from New
York is one hour 45 minutes.

International airports: Bermuda International (BDA) (website:, is
15km (9 miles) from Hamilton (travel time 25 minutes). Pre-arranged transportation is available
by Bee-Line Transportation and Bermuda Hosts (buses) meet all arrivals. Taxis are also available.
There are duty-free shops, cafes, bar and bureaux de change at the airport. Duty free goods may
also be purchased in town shops for collection at the airport on departure.

Departure tax: A tax of BD$25 is included in air tickets. Children under two years and
passengers in immediate transit are exempt.

SEA: Many cruise lines call at Bermuda including Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line,
Norwegian Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas and Royal Caribbean
International. Cruises operate in the summer months of April to October and suspend services
during the winter.

Travel - Internal

SEA: Ferries run on a regular daily schedule across Hamilton Harbour and to points on the West
End and East, and May through November between the City of Hamilton, RN Dockyard and Town
of St George (website:

ROAD: The main island has an extensive road network, but foreign visitors may not drive cars in
Bermuda. Motorcycles and scooters may be hired (see below). Caution should be taken as many
roads are narrow and winding. Outside main urban areas, there is also little street lighting. The
speed limit is 35kph (20mph) and traffic drives on the left. Bus: Buses are modern, frequent and
punctual. Bermuda’s state-run buses (painted pink and blue) are a pleasant and inexpensive way
to visit points of interest. The trip from the city of Hamilton to the town of St George, the
northeastern tip of Bermuda, takes about 30 minutes, with the ride from the city of Hamilton to
the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda’s southernmost point, taking about 45 minutes. It is essential
to have the correct fare in coins. A route and schedule map is available free, and books of tickets
are available at sub-post offices with transportation passes available for 1-, 3-, 4- and 7-days'
unlimited use on both buses and ferries. Taxi: All taxis are metered with government-set rates,
with a surcharge after midnight; there is a maximum of four passengers per taxi. Blue Flag taxi
drivers are qualified guides approved by the Bermuda Department of Tourism. Taxis displaying
small blue flags are driven by qualified guides approved by the Department of Tourism. A 25 per
cent surcharge operates between midnight and 0600. Carriages: Horse-drawn carriages are
available in the city of Hamilton and the town of St George. Motorcycle/bicycle hire: Lightweight
motor-assisted bicycles (‘livery cycles’) may be hired throughout the island; a driver's licence is
not required for this. Crash helmets must be worn. Third party insurance is compulsory. Bicycles
can also be hired from some liveries.

TRAVEL TIMES: The following chart gives approximate travel times from Hamilton (in hours and
minutes) to other major towns and the airport on Bermuda.RoadSeaAirport0.30-St George’s0.30-
Somerset0.350.20Naval Dockyard0.450.25

The Bermuda Department of Tourism provides a pictorial Where to Stay listing of all licensed
tourist accommodation, and also a separate Accommodation Rates, which includes rates,
packages, taxes, etc: both are available in brochure form and also online (website: Reduced rates are available during the Golf and Spa, or ‘low’
season, which runs from November through March, and there are many special package tours for
special interest holidays. A Government tax, called Hotel Occupancy Tax, of 7.25 per cent is
added to hotel bills on check-out, and a service charge - or gratuity charge - of between 10 and
15 per cent is also added to the final bill.

HOTELS: Resort hotels and smaller hotels are both of a high standard. The resort hotels offer a
range of facilities including shops, restaurants, organised entertainment, beauty salon, spa and
taxi rank. They usually have their own beach or beach club and pool(s). Several have their own
golf course. Resort hotels and small hotels usually offer a choice of meal plans. Information is
available on the above-mentioned Accommodation Rates and from the Bermuda Hotel
Association, 61 King Street, Hamilton HM 19 (tel: 295 2127; fax: 292 6671; website: Grading: There is no formal grading system in Bermuda. There is only
a meal plan structure: MAP, AP, BP, CP and EP. MAP is Modified American Plan; breakfast and
dinner included with the price of the room, plus, in some places, British-style afternoon tea. AP is
American Plan; room, breakfast, lunch and dinner. BP is Bermuda Plan; room and full breakfast
only. CP is Continental Plan; room and light breakfast. EP is European Plan; room only. Resort
hotels with many facilities make up about 7 per cent of accommodation in Bermuda. Smaller
hotels (around 16 per cent) have fewer than 150 rooms. Normally less expensive than the self-

contained resorts, they have smaller-scale on-site facilities for shopping and entertainment and
are less formal.

BED & BREAKFAST AND INNS: Most of these properties are historical Bermuda homes in lush
garden settings modernised into comfortable guest rooms. Bed & Breakfast, a small guest house
concept, offers an intimate and traditional setting. Inns, usually larger and more spacious, also
include a lounge and provide the feeling of a guest house on a more formal and grand scale. A
few have their own waterfront and/or pool. Grading: Most Bed & Breakfast establishments and
inns offer BP or CP plans. All offer relaxed living. Some have kitchenette units while others
provide shared kitchen facilities for preparation of snacks. The bed & breakfast establishments
and inns constitute 50 per cent of accommodation in Bermuda.

COTTAGE COLONIES: These are uniquely Bermudan and feature a main clubhouse with dining
room, lounge and bar. The cottage units are spread throughout landscaped grounds and offer
privacy and luxury. Though most have kitchenettes for beverages or light snacks, they are not
self-catering units. All have their own beach and/or pool.

CLUB RESORTS (PRIVATE): These are noted for privacy and luxury and are for members or
by introduction only. There are two club resorts on the main island.

SELF-CATERING AND APARTMENTS: This is self-catering accommodation, otherwise known
as housekeeping cottages. The large category consists of properties situated in landscaped
estates with their own beach and pool, much like cottage colonies, but without a main club-
house. The smaller category is less expensive with fewer amenities. All units of both categories
have full kitchen or kitchenette facilities and offer mostly the EP plan; the BP and CP plan is
available at only some. All of the accommodation in this category are nonetheless comfortable.
Some have a pool and all have minimal daily maid service.

CAMPING/CARAVANNING: There are no camping facilities for visitors in Bermuda.


Watersports: Bermuda’s most famous beaches lie along the island’s southern edge. Some of
the most beautiful are at Chaplin, Horseshoe Bay, Stonehole and Warwick Long Bay. Snorkelling
and scuba-diving are popular. Visibility underwater is often as much as 61m (200ft). Experienced
scuba-divers can go below for a historic ‘tour’ of old wrecks, cannons and other remnants of past
disasters on the reefs. All necessary equipment is easy to hire visitors should note, however, that
spear guns are not allowed. For sailing enthusiasts, the Blue Water Cruising Race from Marion,
Massachusetts, to Bermuda takes place in June bi-annually, in odd-numbered years. The
Newport to Bermuda Ocean Yacht Race is also held bi-annually, in even-numbered years; this
world-famous June Blue Water Classic (fondly referred to as the ‘Thrash to the Onion Patch’)
attracts scores of the finest racing craft afloat. The week-long festivities, which follow the arrival
of the boats, are held at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. In August, the Non-Mariners Race is
held. Sailboats and skippers are available for hire from ‘Sail Yourself’ charter agencies. Bermuda
is one of the world’s finest fishing centres, especially for light-tackle fishing. Equipment may be
rented for shore fishing and there are charter boats for reef and deep-sea fishing. For deep-sea
aficionados, wahoo, amberjack, marlin and tuna abound. On the reefs, there are amberjack,
great barracuda, grey snapper and yellowtail. Shore fishermen can test their skills on bonefish
and pompano. The best fishing is from May to November, when trophies are awarded.

Golf: There are eight golf courses on the island, seven 18-hole courses, including the Mid-Ocean
Club, which is world-renowned for its challenge and beauty, and Port Royal, situated in oceanside
terrain. There is one 9-hole layout, Ocean View. For information on Amateur, Professional and
Pro-Am tournaments, write to the Bermuda Golf Association, PO Box 433, Hamilton (tel: 238
1367; fax: 238 0938; e-mail:; website:

Tennis: There are almost 100 courts on the island, with a variety of surfaces. Most of the larger
Bermuda hotels have their own courts, many of them floodlit for night play. Tournaments are
held all year round and several are open to visitors.

Cricket: The annual Cup Match, an island-wide, two-day public holiday (played since 1902 in
July/August), is held once a year, when the St George’s and Somerset Cricket clubs vie for the
Championship Cup.

Soccer: A hugely popular sport amongst Bermudians, who even have some of their nationals
playing in UK football leagues. The season in Bermuda runs from the end of September through
April and the matches themselves are usually played each weekend and on some weeknights on
a variety of soccer fields. For further information, contact the Bermuda Football Association, PO
Box HM 745, Hamilton, HM CX (tel: 295 2199; fax: 295 0773; e-mail:


Food & Drink: Hotel cooking is usually international with some Bermudan specialities such as
Bermuda lobster (in season September to mid-April), mussel pie, conch stew, cassava pie, Wahoo
steak, Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice), fish chowder laced with sherry, peppers, rum and
shark. Other seafoods include rockfish, red snapper, guinea chick (shiny lobster) and yellowtail.
Peculiar to Bermuda is the Bermuda onion; other fine home-grown products include pawpaw and
strawberries in January and February, and a variety of local citrus fruit. Traditional Sunday
breakfast is codfish and potatoes, which are served with red sauce, avocado and banana, while
desserts include sweet potato pudding, bay grape jelly and loquat jam. There is a vast variety of
restaurants, cafes, bars and taverns to suit all pockets. Service will vary although generally table
service can be expected. Local drinks and cocktails have Golsing's Bermuda Black Seal rum as a
base, and have colourful names such as Dark and Stormy (traditional local drink) and the famous
Rum Swizzle. British, European and US beer is available. It is normal in bars to pay for each drink
and to tip the barman. In restaurants, drinks are added to the bill.

Nightlife: Most hotels offer a variety of entertainment. Dancing, barbecues, nightclubs and
discos are all available. There are also island cruises such as the Hawkins Island Don't Stop the
Carnival Party, which enables exclusive access to Hawkins Island (it is accessible only by boat) for
entertainment -even the locals attend. Local music is a mixture of Calypso and Latin American,
and steel band music is very popular. All the latest listings can be found in Preview Bermuda and
This Week in Bermuda.

Shopping: The best buys are imported merchandise such as French perfumes, English bone
china, Swiss watches, Danish silver, American costume jewellery, German cameras, Scottish
tweeds, and various spirits and liqueurs. Bermuda-made articles include handicrafts, pottery,
cedar ware, fashions, rum, honey, Bermuda Rum cakes, Sherry Peppers condiments, records and
paintings by local artists. Antique shops may have the odd good bargain and shops in the
countryside offer many souvenirs. Bathing suits, sports clothes, straw hats and, of course,
Bermuda shorts, are other good buys. There is no sales tax or VAT. Shopping hours: Mon-Sat

0900-1700, with some closing early on Thursday. Shops at the Royal Naval Dockyard are open on
Sun 1000-1700.

Special Events: Bermuda’s many annual events include concerts, marathons, cricket matches,
regattas, golf and tennis tournaments, and horse shows. The following is a selection of special
events occurring in Bermuda in 2005; for a full list of special events, contact Bermuda Tourism
(see Contact Addresses section):Jan 13-31 Festival of the Performing Arts. Jan 13-Feb 26
Bermuda Festival. Jan 14-16 Bermuda International Race Weekend. Feb 5-6 Champion of
Champions Harness Racing. Mar 7-12 Ladies/Men's Amateur Match Play Championships. Mar 18-
24 International Film Festival. Mar 25 Annual Good Friday Kite Festival. Mar 26 Cat Fanciers'
Association Cat Shows. Mar 27 Open Karate Championships. Apr 4-9 Virtual Spectator Bermuda
Masters 2005 Squash Championship. May 24 Bermuda Day Parade. Jun 13 Queen's Birthday
Parade. Jun 17-21 Marion Bermuda Ocean Race. Jul 28-29 Cup Match Cricket Festival. Sep 5
Labour Day, parade, stalls and games, Union Square, Hamilton. Oct 5-9 Bermuda Music Festival.
Oct 21-23 Bermuda Culinary Arts Festival. Oct 13-16 Bermuda Open for Men, golf. Nov 6-13
World Rugby Classic.

Social Conventions: Many of Bermuda's social conventions are British influenced, and there is a
very English ‘feel’ to the islands. It is quite customary to politely greet people on the street, even
if they are strangers. Casual wear is acceptable in most places during the day, but beachwear
(including short tops and 'short' shorts) should be confined to the beach. Almost all hotels and
restaurants require a smart casual dress in the evenings; check dress requirements in advance.
Non-smoking areas will be marked. Drinking alcohol in public outside of a licensed premise is
prohibited. Tipping: When not included in the bill, 15 per cent generally for most services. Hotels
and guest houses add a set amount per person in lieu of tips to the bill.


Economy: Bermuda’s economy is dominated by two industries tourism and international
business, financial, insurance and re-insurance services which together account for
approximately 90 per cent of GDP. Offshore banking and related services have been the mainstay
of the financial sector, although in recent years, insurance has grown to the point where
Bermuda is now the world’s third-largest insurance market. Tax receipts from several thousand
offshore companies registered in Bermuda, plus customs duties, go some way to offsetting the
island’s large annual visible trade deficit of around US$500 million. The small light-manufacturing
base in Bermuda is engaged in boat building, ship repair and perfume and pharmaceutical
production. There is some agriculture, concentrated in the growing of fruit and vegetables,
although most of Bermuda’s food is imported along with all its oil, machinery and most
manufactured goods. Bermuda has recently established an important diamond market. The USA
is the largest trading partner followed by Japan, Germany and the UK.

Business: Lightweight suits or shirt and tie are acceptable, as are Bermuda shorts, when worn
in the appropriate manner. Visiting cards and, occasionally, letters of introduction are used.
Codes of practice are similar to those in the UK. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

Commercial Information: The following organisations can offer advice: Bermuda Chamber of
Commerce, PO Box HM 655, Hamilton HMCX (tel: 295 4201; fax: 292 5779; e-mail:; website: or Bermuda International
Business Association (BIBA) Century House, 16 Par-La-Ville Road, Hamilton HM 08 (tel: 292
0632; fax: 292 1797; e-mail:; website:

Conferences/Conventions: The Bermuda Department of Tourism (see Contact Addresses
section) can give information, including advice on customs arrangements for the speedy handling
of materials. The Chamber of Commerce can also offer assistance; Special Groups and Incentive
Services (published by the Department of Tourism) is a list of members’ services available to


Sub-tropical, with no wet season. The Gulf Stream which flows between Bermuda and the North
American continent keeps the climate temperate. Change of seasons comes during mid-
November to mid-December and from late March through to April when spring or summer
weather may occur and visitors should be prepared for both. Showers may be heavy at times but
the skies usually clear quickly. Summer temperatures prevail from May to mid-November with the
warmest weather in July, August and September this period is occasionally followed by high
winds. Visitors should note that such high winds between June 1 and November 30 can (albeit
rarely) turn into hurricanes and tropical storms. Since Bermuda is a small target, most storms
brush by and only bring elevated surf. There are exceptions, however - the most recent being
'Fabian', a direct hit on September 5 2003. For climatological information, visit online (website:

Required clothing: Lightweight cottons and linens. Light waterproofs or umbrellas are
advisable and warmer clothes for cooler months.


History: Bermuda was first discovered by Juan de Bermudez, the Spanish mariner, in 1505. It
was claimed in England’s name by Sir George Somers, in July 1609. After colonisation, the island
prospered and has continued to do so almost continuously ever since. The tourist industry,
catering particularly for the American market, began in Victorian times. Bermuda is the oldest
British colony and there are still elements of British culture and customs in almost every aspect of
life on the islands.In 1968, the island was granted internal self-government formally a British
Dependent Territory while Britain retained control of defence and foreign policy. Bermudan
political life revolves around two main political parties the Progressive Labour Party (PLP), which
has close links with the influential trade union movement, and the United Bermuda Party (UBP),
dominated by professional and business interests. The UBP won a long string of elections from
the mid-1970s until 1994. In November 1998, however, the PLP, with a substantial majority in
the House of Assembly, formed a government under Premier Jennifer Smith. Inly July 2003, the
PLP won a second term of government with current Premier W Alexander Scott. The
government’s recent agenda has been dominated by three issues. The first of these is the
economy, which relies heavily on financial services and has grown steadily, despite competition
from elsewhere in the region and external pressure to restrict possible money laundering. (This
was a key factor behind the Labour victory in 1998 party leader Jennifer Smith promised to resist
external pressure on the country’s financial sector.) The second issue is independence the most
recent plebiscite on the issue took place in August 1995. A low turnout, produced a vote of 74
per cent against independence and in favour of remaining under British rule. The belief that the
umbilical link with Britain guarantees stability and encourages foreign investment was sufficient
to persuade the majority of the electorate. Third is the question of British citizenship the British
government still has to reach a final decision and it remains the subject of some irritation in the

Government: Bermuda is a British Dependent Territory. Its bicameral legislature the Senate
with 11 appointed members and the 40-member House of Assembly, elected by universal adult
suffrage for a five-year term is responsible for most internal affairs, although foreign policy and
security matters are decided by the Governor (John Vereker, since 2002) who is appointed by
and represents the British monarch. He in turn appoints the majority leader in the House of
Assembly as Premier; the latter appoints the Cabinet.