BTA cautious over airport reopening
The Bermuda Tourism Authority is working closely with airlines, hotels, and the Bermuda government to gauge and build visitor demand as the island prepares to reopen its airport at the start of next month.
The government announced yesterday that under Bermuda’s Phase 4 economic reopening plan, international commercial air service for visitors will resume through L.F. Wade International Airport starting July 1, after the country’s successful management of COVID-19 to date.
“We look forward to welcoming air visitors back and rebuilding our tourism industry,” said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). “Bermuda has strong advantages over many destinations, including its proximity to North American gateways, our clean, safe environment, and our robust record so far on reducing the pandemic’s negative impact on the island’s public health. However, an open border under rigorous health restrictions-albeit crucial health restrictions-could suppress demand and air service.”
Jones said the BTA is working closely with tourism industry partners, including airlines, hotels and the government, to determine how best to collaborate on building demand safely and responsibly. Consumer polling and discussions with tourism stakeholders are focused on traveller sentiment, flight schedules, visitor accessibility to testing in their home cities, contactless travel solutions, and hotel-room availability. Notably, concern about demand could affect some Bermuda hotels’ ability to reopen in July.
Bermuda’s reopening plan features five stages of visitors travelling to and from Bermuda including: 1) pre-departure; 2) in-flight; 3) upon arrival; 4) on-island; and 5) returning home. In the coming days, government officials are working to finalise a policy to enable travellers who test negative 72 hours in advance and who also test negative upon arrival in Bermuda to have freedom of movement to enjoy the island’s experiences, adhering to local guidelines intended to protect the limited capacity of Bermuda’s healthcare system.
As government works to finalise the specifics of Phase 4 arrival protocols, potential travellers are already asking detailed questions about how to successfully meet the requirements-such as accessibility to testing in their home communities and receiving results within time constraints. BTA is working with government officials to share consumer input and concern to ensure the finalised plan is easy to understand and actionable ahead of a trip to Bermuda.
“The Bermuda Hotel Association understands more than most the importance of getting a date announced and we’re grateful to have that. Now we await the specific border-entry requirements the Minister told us are on the way,” said BHA CEO Stephen Todd. “Even with scheduled flights resuming, restrictions imposed on visitors could result in low hotel occupancy. Individual hotels will need to make decisions about whether to open based on their own projection reports and data from the Bermuda Tourism Authority. That said, we all understand the need to balance reopening with careful risk assessment-safety is in the best interest of both future visitors and residents as we work to prevent any escalation of COVID-19.”
The reopening reflects Bermuda’s success to date in managing the impact of the pandemic, with a high volume of testing and contact tracing following lockdown and shelter-at-home measures. The island has:
• the world’s 12th-highest rate of testing per capita
• 11 consecutive days of no new cases of COVID-19 as of June 11
• five currently active cases, none of which are critical
With the resumption of cruise traffic unknown at this time, the BTA encourages visitors to work with their trusted travel professional for hotel and air packages, or book directly with tourism partners in Bermuda.
Information on Bermuda’s reopening plan and timeline will be updated as it changes, and can be found at: https://www.gotobermuda.com/bta/press-release/bermuda-tourism-authority-update
• Press release from the Bermuda Tourism Authority