American Airlines to move Bermuda flight from Miami to Charlotte
American Airlines is to ground its service between Miami and Bermuda, it has been revealed.
The airline will instead fly to the island from Charlotte, North Carolina.
Glenn Jones, the interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the move from the Florida airport could be a good one for the island’s tourism industry.
He claimed the Charlotte market was “likely more attractive” for leisure travellers.
Mr Jones, in an emailed message to industry figures sent earlier this week, said the BTA were working to rebuild the island’s tourism industry after a 2020 devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But he added that increased use of Covid-19 vaccines would make travel more attractive and the BTA would focus its marketing on people who were likely to have got the shot.
Mr Jones said: “Travel sentiment data shows half the consumers in our target areas of the United States won’t travel internationally until they’re vaccinated.
“As the months tick by and the vaccines are more widely available, half will probably become three-quarters.
“That’s why the BTA is recalibrating its marketing to ensure the consumers we target now are the people most likely to be vaccinated first.”
The BTA released its figures for 2020 this week, which showed a huge slump in visitor arrivals and spending because of the pandemic.
The number of cruise visitors was down 98.3 per cent on 2019 and total leisure visitor spending was down 88.7 per cent.
Leisure air visitors were down 86.6 per cent, total air visitors dropped by 84.4 per cent and airline seat numbers to Bermuda fell by 70.6 per cent.
But Mr Jones said plans were in place to rebuild the industry despite the slump.
He said the American Airlines move from Miami to Charlotte would benefit the industry.
He added British Airways decision to transfer its Bermuda flights from Gatwick to Heathrow was also an improvement as Heathrow was a better travel hub.
Mr Jones said that the opening of the St Regis hotel in St George’s - and the reopening of other hotels this year - would help boost the industry and the SailGP yacht races would bring the island valuable media exposure.
He added: “Our team is working well with government officials to make the Covid-19 approval process more user-friendly for sports organisers – giving them confidence about what they need to do to meet Bermuda’s standards for safety.
“Sailing, tennis and triathlon all have big events on the calendar this year. Plus, we’re doubling down on golf at a time when the sport’s popularity is at an all-time high.
“Bermuda has a golf course reopening this year, new golf ad content, two new golf events are scheduled to launch in 2021 and the Bermuda Championship returns for another three years.”
Mr Jones said the BTA was working to increase on-island visitor spending after figures showed last year had a larger-than-usual amount of wealthy travellers.
He said: “The BTA is recalibrating 2021 marketing activity to leverage this luxury traveller trend. Experience development will pivot too.
“Executing well with this high-income consumer segment, without ceding ground in other areas, will accelerate the country’s tourism recovery – particularly if visitors’ longer length of stay continues.”
Mr Jones also highlighted plans to promote Bermuda as a wedding location and a magnet for superyachts.
He added: “It’s an all hands-on-deck moment to ready ourselves for a mission of tourism recovery that is the toughest we’ve ever faced.”