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Young travellers fuel air arrivals increase

Visitor boost: the largest growth was among those between the ages of 18 and 24 (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Younger travellers from the United States fuelled the rise in air arrivals for the first quarter of 2016.

For the first three months of the year, 83 per cent of the growth in the number of visitors flying into Bermuda was attributed to travellers younger than 45 years old.

The largest percentage growth among all age groups was in the 18-to-24 year-old category, which jumped 39 per cent in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

“Attracting the next generation of travellers is a principal focus of our team,” said Victoria Isley, the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s chief sales and marketing officer. We target specific personas in marketing efforts and the results of the first quarter are encouraging. They indicate our messages and outreach to younger travellers are resonating.”

In 2015, 19 per cent of Bermuda vacationers who travelled by air were between 18 and 34 years old.

In the first quarter of 2016 that number has grown to 23 per cent.

BTA board member Phil Barnett said the latest statistics were proof that marketing and social media campaigns targeting young travellers in the US had paid dividends.

“We need to reestablish ourselves as a sustainable tourism destination that offers these exciting pursuits to the young visitor like cliff jumping, snorkelling and wake boarding. The spending power a 55-year-old has over a 25-year-old is very significant and we have not necessarily seen a big jump in spending, but this is just the beginning.

“In the long term these are the people who will keep coming back so we must continue to grow this segment.”

In the first quarter of 2015 and throughout the year, the lion’s share of leisure air arrivals were 45 years old and older.

Erin Smith, the BTA’s director of research and business intelligence said: “Although there was a high number of young sports teams and athletes in Bermuda during the first quarter of 2016, if we exclude them and focus exclusively on vacation visitors, there remains a significant shift upward in those particular age groups.

“While this is only one quarter of data, it’s a good indicator that our marketing strategy to target younger travellers is returning positive results.”