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BTA: on course for another record year

Remarkable performance: Bermuda Tourism Authority chief executive Kevin Dallas (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A second record-breaking tourism year is expected for Bermuda with almost 560,000 people taking holidays here in the first nine months.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority said its latest figures showed an eleventh consecutive quarter of growth for leisure air arrivals and spending.

Data released yesterday revealed those visitors have pumped an additional $64 million into the economy when compared with the same period in 2016.

Kevin Dallas, the tourism authority’s chief executive, said holidaymakers that fly to the island make up the most meaningful performance indicator.

He explained: “The measurement we focus on more than any other at the Bermuda tourism industry is leisure visitors by air.

“Performance in that area is up 26 per cent in arrivals and up 35 per cent in spending since the streak of quarterly growth began back in January 2016.

“By any measure, that is a remarkable performance that every member of our team and every one of our stakeholders can be very proud of.”

The figures showed 168,005 leisure visitors by air to the end of September, up from 132,816 for the corresponding period in 2016 and 147,833 last year.

It was found that those people spent $245.9 million in the nine months, compared with $181.6 million and $222.3 million over the same time in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

When cruise ship passengers were included, 559,238 people had visited the island for holidays and leisure travel by the end of September.

That is nearly 82,000 more than the same period in 2016 and an increase of 36,108, or 6.9 per cent, on last year.

However, leisure visitors during the month of September alone have been falling over the past three years, from 57,924 in 2016, to 54,191 and 51,209 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

The latest figure represents a 5.5 per cent decrease year-on-year.

The BTA said the quarterly statistics put Bermuda on track to follow 2017’s record-breaking performance with “another year of record arrival numbers when cruise visitors are factored into the equation”.

Hotel occupancy and vacation rental stays were also said to have increased when compared to the same period last year.

The BTA pointed out that available airline seats to Bermuda appeared to be slowing, with a 2.5 per cent drop in third-quarter capacity, from 189,046 in 2017 to 184,238 this year.

However, it said air capacity remains up almost four per cent over the nine months.

Mr Dallas said: “Growing airlift has proven to be a precursor to vacation air arrival growth in Bermuda over the past several years.

“If that trend reverses it would be an obstacle for further growth. It’s something we are watching closely as we do our forecasting for 2019.”

The full 2018 Q3 Visitor Arrivals Report is available on the BTA corporate website.

To read documents provided by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”