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Tourism arrivals plunge in third quarter

Big drop: Visitor arrivals plunged in the third quarter of 2020. In this file photo, visitors and locals enjoy a day out at Horseshoe Bay Beach

Air visitor arrivals plunged by 90 per cent between July and September, it was revealed today.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority said just 5,711 air visitors came to Bermuda over the period.

Estimated visitor spending sank by 89 per cent from $111.9 million to $11.8 million in the same period.

The BTA said the tourism’s industry’s recovery would be “slow and gradual” after the airport closed during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and only reopened on July 1.

The cruise season has not restarted since the start of the pandemic in March.

But the BTA highlighted that each month showed an increase in air capacity after commercial flights to the Island resumed, with 23 per cent of the previous year’s capacity being achieved by September.

Glenn Jones, the BTA’s interim chief executive, said: “Our tourism economy’s recovery has begun slowly and gradually and will take a great deal more time and effort to build back.

“The good news is that Bermuda reopened before many competing destinations, and we’ve continued to steadily increase industry performance – building airlift and welcoming back visitors, all while striving for a balance with robust health and safety measures.

“That careful effort will continue through the fourth quarter and into the New Year.”.

The BTA said each month in the quarter heralded a progressive return to normality.

Just 10 per cent of last year’s airline seat capacity had returned by July.

But by August it was 20 per cent, and in September 23 per cent.

Leisure visitors in July amounted to just five per cent of the number in the same month last year.

But the figures were ten per cent in August and 16 per cent in September.

A total of 51 per cent of air arrivals stayed in a hotel or guesthouse.

Another 21 per cent stayed with friends and relatives and 12 per cent rented a home or apartment.

The length of stay increased across all visitor sectors.

Leisure travellers stayed for an average of 10 days and business travellers spent 13 days on the island.

That compared to five or six days the previous year and people visiting friends or family remained for an average 20 days – double the time compared to 2019.

Spending per person increased 29 per cent for the quarter – largely as a result of the longer stays.

The number of business visitors also dropped 90 per cent in the period, from 7,148 in 2019 to 719 in 2020, although there were increases month over month.

Expenditure by business visitors also dropped from $15 million in 2019 to $1.3 million.

But average visitor expenditure rose by 14 per cent to $1,799.

The island’s commercial air capacity in the third quarter was down 83 per cent, or 146,446 seats, year over year.

There were 29,079 airline seats available, compared to more than 175,000 in the third quarter of 2019.

That amounts to less than 17 per cent of the number of seats available compared to the same period last year.

A total of 279 sailors arrived by yacht during the three-month period – more than 50 per cent up on the same period last year.

A total of 15 of the 47 boats that docked were superyachts – a year-to-date total of 35 luxury vessels.

For the BTA’s detailed report, see Related Media

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Published December 08, 2020 at 12:28 pm (Updated December 08, 2020 at 5:49 pm)

Tourism arrivals plunge in third quarter

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