Tourism statistics show drop in air numbers
Tourist air arrivals in the first three months of the year dropped compared with the same period in 2018, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday.
But the BTA said the 8.5 per cent drop was partly offset by a 9.1 per cent rise in business air arrivals, but total arrivals fell by 4.9 per cent.
Total air arrivals fell from 40,326 in the first three months of last year to 38,349 in the first quarter of 2019.
But the figures showed cruise ship numbers almost doubled, up 137 per cent to 11,000 in January to the end of March.
The BTA earlier said that it hoped to boost high-value air leisure arrivals, which Zane DeSilva, the tourism minister, said in February should be a priority.
Air visitors spent more per person this year, but the overall drop in leisure air arrivals meant total estimated spending was down 2.5 per cent to $32 million.
Loss of air capacity, which fell 3.5 per cent, played a role in the drop.
The reduction in the number of seats included a 12 per cent drop in capacity from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.
The city is the island's largest source for visitor arrivals.
The BTA said the leisure air visitor spending and arrivals for the first quarter of 2019 marked the sector's first down quarter since the fourth quarter of 2015.
Fewer visitors also led to lower hotel occupancy, which declined 5.6 per cent.
But hotels had “marginally” higher rates, up 2.6 per cent, over the first quarter of last year. The BTA said vacation rentals performed well with a slightly greater share of visitors who opted to stay in private homes, up from 7.8 per cent in the first three months of 218 to 8.2 per cent in the same period this year.
• To read the first-quarter tourism measures in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”.