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Tourism figures show ‘continued recovery in the industry’ – BTA

Visitors take to Horseshoe Beach, Southampton (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Leisure air arrivals for the first quarter of 2023 are up 88.1 per cent compared with Q1 of 2022, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday.

Last year the authority reported 7,172 air leisure and vacation arrivals for the first quarter of 2022, compared to 13,507 in the same period this year.

In the first quarter of 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were 24,088 air visitors, according to the Tourism Authority’s tourism measures report.

A fall in air visitor spending per person for 2023 was ascribed to shorter stays of 7.22 days versus 9.03 days.

But total visitor spending was up 67.6 per cent this year, compared with 2022, when leisure and business air visitors spent a total of $21.6 million.

The BTA said today that the visitor numbers indicated “continued recovery in the industry”.

In particular, year-over-year visits from Canada were said to be up nearly threefold, at 296 per cent.

For Q1 last year, the BTA’s total air visit figures from Canada stood at 1,166 — with 603 leisure air arrivals reported.

The authority said Canada’s dropping of Covid-19 restrictions enabled the BTA to re-engage with its market.

Strict entry rules against the pandemic were lifted on October 1, 2022.

The BTA said leisure arrival figures from Britain for January, February and March of this year had exceeded 2019 figures, when there were 1,196 British tourists recorded for the first quarter.

First quarter cruise visits, at 22,784, also topped 2019 numbers, when Bermuda reported 11,100 cruise visitors.

The figure stood at zero for Q1 of 2021 and 2022.

Airline capacity also rose in an encouraging sign for the industry, rising 9.9 per cent to 73,175 seats for the quarter. Load factor - the number of seats occupied jumped to 74.2 per cent from 48 per cent in 2022 and 63.7 per cent in the same period in 2019.

Tracy Berkeley, the chief executive of the BTA, said the incremental growth for the quarter was “testament to the island’s ongoing recovery, and the organisation’s sales and marketing efforts”.

Hotel occupancy rose from 28.7 per cent in Q1 2022 to 45.6 per cent for 2023.

Business travellers increased 160 per cent from the same period in 2022, rising from 2,674 to 6,959 but still lagging behind the first quarter of 2019’s figures of 9,948.

People visiting friends and relatives jumped 50 per cent to 3,088 from 2,059 in 2022 and is closing in on the 2019 figure of 3,756.

There were 25 yacht arrivals for the first three months of this year, with two superyachts, delivering an estimated economic impact of $1.72 million — a 164 per cent rise on the previous year.

For Q1 2022, yacht arrivals were reported at 22.

The BTA highlighted its marketing programmes such as the “digital roadblock” featuring Bermuda on the way to the upscale Hamptons resort on Long Island in New York and screen footage of the island shown in the Moynihan train station in Manhattan.

Journalists and content creators also featured Bermuda on the May 5 JetBlue flight launch for New York LaGuardia Airport.

The BTA said its Experiences calendar this year came with the inaugural Celebrity Golf Invitational and Black Golfers’ Week.

Erin Smith, the BTA’s chief operations officer, said Q1 figures reflected 62 per cent of the air capacity in 2019, but that “greater growth” was expected in Q2 as airline schedules increased further.

• To read the BTA statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published May 11, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated May 11, 2023 at 12:10 pm)

Tourism figures show ‘continued recovery in the industry’ – BTA

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