by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 2:06 PM ET, Wed November 29, 2017
Let's all say it together, shall we?
"Bermuda is not Barbuda."
While confusing the two destinations is somewhat understandable given the close spelling of their names, there's obviously a big difference between the two-particularly this year.
In 2017, Barbuda was hit by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose, while Bermuda made it through the entire hurricane season unscathed.
However, that fact was lost amid the general public's less than stellar grasp of Caribbean geography, according to Bloomberg. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Bermuda is not even located in the Caribbean).
Unfortunately for Bermuda, the confusion also made its way into media reports, with various news outlets also mixing up the two islands during their hurricane coverage.
While on Bermuda, the pink sand beaches remained peaceful, on Barbuda, more than 90 percent of the buildings were destroyed and the island was temporarily abandoned by all of its residents who fled to neighboring Antigua, according to a report from the UN Development Programme.
In the end, more than 3,000 tourists scrapped plans to visit Bermuda thinking it was the location of such massive devastation.
Local officials also reported receiving a flurry of text messages from friends stating "I hope you're OK!" according to Bloomberg.
All of which has served as an important lesson in terms of Bermuda's marketing campaigns going forward.
"It's a helpful reminder to us of the importance of our strategy that while Bermuda is influenced by the Caribbean, it's set apart," Kevin Dallas, CEO of Bermuda Tourism Authority, told Bloomberg.
The unfortunate circumstance is also another example of the power of social media once a false message has begun circulating.
Though Bermuda officials tried to get the word out that the island was unharmed and open for business, using various promotions and marketing channels, the incorrect reports of the island's devastation had already made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter.
"The social media genie was out of the bag," Dallas said.
On a positive note, however, the island, which had seen 19 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in visitors, may have had an off month in September, though it recovered by October.
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