Hotels fully booked for World Series
Jump in room takings
Statistics for the second quarter of this year show a jump of 8.9 per cent in hotel takings over the same period last year — a $7.7 million increase, despite a decline in visitor arrivals.
The quarterly bulletin from the Department of Statistics showed a 1.7 per cent decline of air arrivals, down to 71,974.
Total visitors to the Island numbered 218,451, versus 220,130 for the previous year.
The rise in hotel receipts was credited to a $3 million increase in room sales, boosting overall revenue to $93.6 million, up from $85.9 million in 2014.
As of April 2015, there was also an increase in hotel employment: 2,474 workers overall, a rise of 177 employees — 169 of whom were Bermudian.
Hotels are fully booked ahead of this month’s America’s Cup races — with hoteliers optimistic the event is already helping the ailing tourism industry to turn a corner.
Six hotels and guesthouses across Hamilton and Paget told The Royal Gazette of very positive take-up for the three-day Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, which begins next Friday.
They said it gave them great hope for 2017, when Bermuda will host the 35th America’s Cup, and added that next weekend’s festivities would help to show the Island in a new light to many visitors, who would potentially return in future.
The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the Royal Palms, the Rosedon Hotel, the Rosemont, the Oxford House and Coco Reef all said they were at full occupancy or very close to this.
Vince Angelo, general manager at Coco Reef, said all 60 rooms had been sold out from next Thursday to Saturday, half of which could be accounted for by the America’s Cup.
“Without that group here, a lot of hotels would have less on the books, without a doubt,” he added. “We at Coco Reef are extremely excited. It’s awesome.”
Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the official worldwide host hotel for the 2017 America’s Cup, said 410 rooms were fully booked more than a month ago.
“While October typically is busy for us, the hotel has seen a great boost as a result of America’s Cup,” a spokeswoman said.
“As we look ahead to 2017, Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is excited to be a part of all social activities outside of Dockyard for events leading up to and during the 2017 America’s Cup.
“We look forward to showcasing to the world our newly renovated hotel.”
Ann Smith, owner of Oxford House, whose 12 rooms are at full occupancy, said that her phones have been ringing “a little more than normal” with enquiries focusing on the week of racing. She said her guests were booking longer stays because of the America’s Cup.
Stephen Todd, chief executive of Bermuda Hotel Association, told this newspaper: “We’re very optimistic this is going to bring positive results because visitors will see Bermuda in a completely different light.
“Travellers tend to think more of other destinations only because our marketing strategy hasn’t been focused on Bermuda being a year-round destination.
“We’re especially pleased that visitors have taken the opportunity to book into some of the smaller properties as well. That’s also a very positive sign for our association.”
The qualifying event is scheduled to take place on the Great Sound on Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, with festivities formally starting in Hamilton the previous Friday.
Mr Todd continued: “The closer we get to 2017, the higher the interest will be. It will also bring a different kind of visitor than we’re used to. They’ll also take in some of the other activities and amenities that we have available.
“Some people tend to think more in terms of other destinations only because our marketing strategy hasn’t been focused on Bermuda being a year-round destination.
“We may not be able to offer the warmest temperatures for swimming in, say, January, but we have other attractions and other activities that I believe are very appealing to the visitor.”
Meanwhile, Pompano Beach Club, Southampton, which is slated to host Oracle Team USA in 2017, said about half of its 75 rooms had been booked for the World Series.
However owner Larry Lamb remained upbeat, telling The Royal Gazette: “America’s Cup, for the Island, is great. It’s put a ton of kids in schools. Car sales are way up. Supermarkets are fuller. A tremendous amount of good has come from this event.
“Originally they predicted hotels would benefit, but it’s more apartment rentals. These are just average folks doing a job.
“They’ve rented the heck out of the apartments, which is still filling a void in Bermuda’s economy. Economically, it’s great.”