BTA report points to grim outlook for tourism

  • Challenging future: a drone shot of the new passenger terminal at the airport

    Challenging future: a drone shot of the new passenger terminal at the airport

  • Flying in: Delta’s daily Atlanta flight will be the only air service linking Bermuda with the US in July (File photograph)

    Flying in: Delta’s daily Atlanta flight will be the only air service linking Bermuda with the US in July (File photograph)

Air arrivals for the second half of 2020 are expected to be one third of what they were last year, while hotel occupancy is expected to average about 25 per cent for the next six months.

The statistics, which portray a grim outlook for tourism, appear in the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s flights demand update, dated June 15, which was circulated among hoteliers.

LF Wade International Airport will reopen next week, after the island moves into Phase 4.

The report has dismal expectations for July, when only 35 commercial flights are expected.

The total number of commercial airline seats available for next month is estimated at about 4,500. That number takes social-distancing measures on aircraft into account and represents a 92 per cent fall in airlift from the same month last year.

The BTA forecasts hotel occupancy in July at between 0 per cent and 10 per cent, compared with more than 84 per cent in 2019.

In August, things are forecast to pick up a little, with air arrivals of between 11,500 and 13,100 reaching more than one third of last year’s total of 33,188, translating into an estimated hotel occupancy rate of between 33 per cent and 37 per cent, compared with 79 per cent last year.

Air Canada’s flight from Toronto is scheduled to be the first flight to arrive next month on July 2.

Pascal Déry, a spokesman for Air Canada ,confirmed yesterday: “We do plan to operate once a week from Toronto starting July 2. We might also increase frequencies for the month of August.”

The only flight coming to the island from the US next month is Delta Air Lines’ daily Atlanta service from July 6.

The only other airline coming to the island in July is British Airways, which resumes its flights from Gatwick on July 17, twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.

One airline that does not appear on the July schedule is American Airlines.

Laura Masvidal, a spokeswoman for American, said yesterday: “We are currently planning to resume our operation in Bermuda on August 5 with one daily flight from New York, JFK.”

That will be a morning flight, arriving in Bermuda at 11.44am.

She added that the airline planned to resume its Miami-Bermuda service in October.

The International Air Transport Association does not expect passenger air travel to return to 2019 levels until 2023.

Credit rating agency Moody’s said yesterday that it expected small-island economies, including Bermuda, to be impacted by a steep drop-off in tourism this year, with continuing soft demand next year.

David Rogovic, Moody’s vice-president, said: “We expect tourist arrivals to decline between 35 per cent and 50 per cent for most sovereigns, followed by only a partial recovery in 2021.”

While Moody’s expected Bermuda would be less impacted than many islands that are more dependent on tourism, the rating agency estimated that a 50 per cent drop in visitor numbers over a year would have a negative 5 per cent impact on the island’s gross domestic product.

To view the Bermuda Tourism Authority flights demand update, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published Jun 23, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 6:57 am)

BTA report points to grim outlook for tourism

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