Arrivals drop 3.5% in second quarter
Overall tourist numbers have dropped 3.5 percent with fewer people visiting the Island on cruise ships and yachts in the last three months of this year.
However, air arrivals, who traditionally spend more than cruise visitors, rose almost four percent, and length of stay, another key spending indicator, also rose.
Tourism Minister Patrice Minors announced that 243,858 visitors had come to Bermuda from April to June, compared to 252,734 in the same period in 2010.
A total of 58,795 visitors visited Bermuda in April, almost ten percent more than last year; 85,411 visited in May, a 14 percent reduction; and 99,652 visited in June, a 0.2 percent reduction.
The 2011 second quarter visitor statistics show cruise visitors dipped by approximately 10,000 passengers. There were 161,036 cruise ship passengers this year compared to 171,295 during the same period last year a decrease of almost six percent.
Ms Minors put the decline in cruise ship passengers down to the Norwegian Dawn starting its Bermuda season late as it was dry-docked in May, which resulted in five fewer sailings for the ship.
Yacht arrivals declined by almost 40 percent in the second quarter. A total of 2,360 yachtsmen sailed to the Island down from 3,927 yachtsmen in the first quarter of 2010.
Ms Minors said she believed yacht arrivals had decreased as the Newport to Bermuda event had been hosted in this period last year.
A total of 80,462 visitors flew to the Island during the period, up from 77,512 in 2010. This is a 3.81 percent increase year-on-year.
All countries of origin showed increases this quarter except Canada, which suffered a 13 percent decline. Ms Minors puts this down to a reduction in WestJet's Toronto flights from daily in 2010 to three times a week in 2011.
Visitors from the US, UK, Europe and the rest of the world showed increases of seven percent, one percent, eight percent and five percent respectively.
There were 61,232 visitors from the US, 9,027 from Canada, 6,371 from the UK, 1,496 from Europe and 2,336 from the rest of the world from April to June.
US visitors now have a 76 percent market share, up from 74 percent for the first quarter. Their top five places of residence are New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida and Pennsylvania.
Ms Minors told a press conference at Beau Rivage restaurant at Newstead Belmont Hills yesterday: "Bermuda continues to experience modest and encouraging gains in arrivals for the year.
"The global economic downturn is still very evident in all of the major economies, especially our key target markets of the USA and the UK, but we continue to achieve our fair share of business in these very difficult times."
Ms Minors added that she expected the second half of the year to be "a record year for cruise passengers arrivals". She said additional ships would be added and the Norwegian Dawn had extended its season to the end of October so it will make 22 calls for the year, the same as in 2010.
Ms Minors highlighted that the Island has experienced gains in five out of the first six months of the year in air arrivals. April's gain of 13 percent was strong with 20,481 arrivals, but May was a down month with 26,913 arrivals, a reduction of four percent.
The increase in air arrivals comes after air arrivals from January to March 2011 were also up by 6.8 percent. There were 30,826 air arrivals compared to 28,863 in 2010. The first two quarters of the year represent the first time there has been two quarters of consecutive growth since the January to June period of 2005.
Ms Minors said she was "very encouraged" air visitors had been showing a "positive turnaround" for the second consecutive quarter of 2011.
She said: "This clearly represents an uptrend, or seeds for optimism for turning the corner, but there is still a long way to go."
The average number of nights stayed in hotels increased from 4.80 nights from 4.72 nights, with those staying in private homes staying an average of 5.77, a slight decline from 5.82 last year.
The nine largest Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA) member hotels, representing 75 percent of the hotel inventory, have reported a three percent increase in room occupancy for the second quarter. There was a three percent increase reported in the first quarter. The actual occupancy percentages were 63 percent, 75 percent and 86 percent for April to June, compared to 57 percent, 76 percent and 83 percent for the same period in 2010.
Ms Minors added that advance bookings, as of June 30, for the next three months reveal that July is up six percent, August is up 19 percent and September is up eight percent.
Looking ahead until the end of the year, hotels are looking at a six percent increase, which Ms Minors called "yet another modest and positive sign of upward progress".
Having revealed the latest tourism statistics, Ms Minors went on to read a 14-page speech highlighting everything that's happening within the Ministry of Tourism.
She touched upon the National Tourism Plan, Bermuda's overseas marketing plan, the new website, the Sizzling Summer programme and the good work of the Bermuda Hospitality Institute.
Ms Minors said these "numerous activities and programmes" ad helped to push up visitor numbers.
She said "progress was being achieved" and she thanked everyone in the hospitality industry who "works passionately, professionally and oft-times thanklessly to revitalise our tourism industry one modest step at a time".
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