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Sports events will inject life into tourism, BHA’s Todd says

Bright outlook: Stephen Todd of the Bermuda Hotel Association (File photograph)

The tourism industry is “trending in the right direction” despite low visitor arrival numbers, hoteliers said yesterday.

Stephen Todd, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said it had been “anticipated” that there would be a “significant downturn” compared to previous, pre-pandemic years, but added that the numbers showed “a positive growth trend”.

Mr Todd added: “Overall, we are trending in a positive direction, and this is beginning to be reflected in our year to date results.”

He was speaking spoke after the release of Bermuda Tourism authority figures that showed a drop of almost 80 per cent in air arrivals in the second quarter of this year compared to 2019.

But Mr Todd said that the island’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic had made Bermuda a more attractive destination for visitors than other destinations.

“Visitors are coming to the island with the confidence and knowledge that our destination continues to be among the safest in the world in terms of reducing the spread of the virus and the variants.”

Mr Todd said that the hotel industry was working with the BTA to produce “positive messaging internationally”.

“Our prospective visitors and hotel guests are being made aware of the testing protocols which our association member properties have in place to ensure that our industry colleagues are undergoing regular testing to determine their overall health status.

“This provides an additional level of confidence to our guests, over and above the standing health protocols that the Bermuda Government has implemented, which continues to serve our destination well.”

Mr Todd said that an increase in flights to the island would help keep momentum up.

He added: “The return of airlift from Canada, the British Airways switch to Heathrow earlier this year, as well as our US-based airline partners increasing their services to the island are aiding Bermuda in a progressive return of our air visitors.

“There are several member properties which have experienced near full capacity which thus far has been attributed to longer guest stays, returning guests, as well as a percentage that is attributable to ‘staycations’ on the part of local residents, which is very much appreciated.”

Mr Todd said that the hotel industry was working with the BTA on its marketing strategy to boost interest in Bermuda.

“The signature sporting events in the latter part of this year are also anticipated to aid our destination in continuing to restore and rebuild our tourism product.”

Among the events being hosted by Bermuda are the 2021 World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships and the US PGA event at Port Royal Golf Course.

Mr Todd added: “Equally and of paramount importance will be our collective vigilance in containing and reducing the local transmission of the variants of the virus as well as our international status, which will ensure that prospective air visitors continue to see Bermuda as a safe and secure destination for their future visits.”

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Published August 14, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated August 14, 2021 at 7:33 am)

Sports events will inject life into tourism, BHA’s Todd says

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