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Hotel bookings up; air arrivals down

Hotels are reporting increased bookings, compared to those last year, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA).

But air arrivals have seen a slight decline.

BTA CEO Bill Hanbury said several figures being measured by the authority, including the hotel revenue metrics and visitor satisfaction, are encouraging, but he warned that much more work must be done to turn the industry around.

“While these figures show movement in the right direction, we still have a long way to go regarding meaningful growth in the industry,” Mr Hanbury said.

“Visitor expenditure, for example, has dropped and, as the BTA moves into full gear, we will be looking at strategies to improve our product and the visitor experience in order to improve on these numbers.”

According to figures released today by the BTA, total hotel room bookings are up 6.8 percent for the next six months compared with last year and up 12.2 percent for the next year.

Group booking are up 8.2 percent for the next six months and 19.8 percent for the year, while individual room bookings are up 5.9 percent for next six months and 7.5 percent for the year.

Hotel occupancy was up 7.7 percent in January and 1.1 percent in February, while year-to-date occupancy has increased by 4.3 percent.

But despite the increases in hotel bookings and occupancy, year-to-date air arrivals have fallen slightly. A total of 7,046 visitors flew to the Island in January and 8,910 in February, marking a 0.2 percent decrease.

And while air capacity increased by 2.1 percent through February compared to last year, the percentage of seats filled dropped.

The figures also revealed that visitor expenditure and the average length of stay for visitors dropped between 2012 and 2013.

Visitors who arrived by air stayed for an average of 5.4 nights in 2012, spending between $1,079 and $1,342 each, but last year the average duration of stay dropped slightly to 5.3 nights and spending fell to between $977 and $1,337.

Cruise ship visitor spending also fell from between $119 and $203 per person in 2012 to between $112 and $124 in 2013.

However, visitor satisfaction increased between 2012 and 2013, rising from 86.8 percent to 87.9 percent for air visitors and from 86.6 percent to 87 percent for cruise ship passengers.

A BTA spokeswoman said the authority was reviewing a broad cross-section of data, stating that no single metric fully represents the condition of the Island's tourism sector.

“Only after viewing the full set of data, can we know the true status of the industry and understand how to achieve the stated goals of the BTA which includes increasing tourism's contribution to the Bermuda economy, increasing jobs and job duration in the industry and helping our hotels towards a sustainable and profitable model,” the spokeswoman said.

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Published March 28, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 28, 2014 at 9:15 am)

Hotel bookings up; air arrivals down

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