News Release: Hamilton, Bermuda – One of the largest conference groups in the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s five-year history began arriving on the island this weekend and Air Canada is flying in hundreds of seats of added capacity to meet the demand.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) expects about 700 guests for the its annual conference, consisting of delegates, delegates’ families and facilitators. It will take place March 22 to 28, 2019, at the Fairmont Southampton Resort.

Air Canada typically flies non-daily between Toronto and Bermuda in March, on a 146-seat Airbus 320. However, over the next week the carrier has increased aircraft size and frequency of flights. On days when service is already scheduled, a 200-seat Airbus 321 will fly instead of a smaller Airbus 320. Meantime, on days previously without service, flights are now planned, also on the 200-seat aircraft.

The extra flights and bigger planes have satisfied the spike in demand generated by the conference without displacing Canadian leisure travel business. It took about a month of discussions between tourism officials, the airline and the CCA event planner to make it happen. The first of the Airbus 321 flights arrive today, branded as Air Canada Rouge.

“We are very grateful to our partners at Air Canada for stepping up with extra capacity to satisfy this demand because group travel is critically important to Bermuda’s tourism success, particularly at this time of year,” said Kevin Dallas, Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO.

Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism and Transport Zane DeSilva said: “This is an excellent example of collaboration between our tourism stakeholders. Working together, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Air Canada devised a solution that benefits all. Facilitating a larger plane ensures our regular travellers and those attending the conference will not be inconvenienced. This is a win for Bermuda and strengthens our relationship with Air Canada and the Canadian Construction Association.”

“Typically, when a big group fills our larger properties it channels a bump in leisure business to smaller properties. This, in turn, has a positive impact on tourism small businesses island-wide from transport to retail to excursion providers,” Mr. Dallas said.

CCA event planners have been especially adept at building an itinerary that allows delegates to experience the island’s culture. The schedule includes a night out at the National Museum of Bermuda, a beach party with an “ugliest Bermuda shorts” contest and a presentation on the island’s maritime heritage by Bermudian Dr. Philippe Rouja. Additionally, in the lead-up to the conference, there was a monthly prize draw for conference registrants to win a daylong mini-car rental to explore the island.

The Canadian construction industry is a $119 billion industry and employs 1.37 million Canadians, about 7 percent of the country’s total workforce.