News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda, August 11, 2021 — The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) today released second quarter and half-year figures for the travel market. Bermuda’s tourism industry saw slowing yet significant declines in visitor arrivals as compared to 2019 data.
Leisure visitor air arrivals fell by 78.9 percent which reflected a near-total loss (99%) of Canadian leisure visitors during the nation’s government- mandated international travel restrictions.
Additionally, Bermuda’s designation as an amber destination in May 2021 imposed stringent restrictions that enforced a ten-day post-visit quarantine on travellers returning to the UK from Bermuda, resulting in an overall drop of 93 percent in leisure air travellers for the quarter. The BTA report used 2019 statistics as the baseline for this year’s comparison to rate performance against pre-pandemic figures.
The report highlighted the sharp fall in leisure visitor expenditure which was down nearly 75 percent from $98.5MM in the second quarter of 2019 to $24.6MM in 2021. The slump was buoyed by a 25 percent increase in the average length of stay, which reached a 6.6-day average holiday for the second quarter.
During Q2, air capacity made a marked leap upward from the decimated flight schedules of 2020; however, Bermuda remained at 62 percent below the 2019 benchmark. The airlines enacted major gateway adjustments for Bermuda with American Airlines shift from daily Miami flights to Charlotte representing a well-received move by leisure travellers that looks to have longevity.
In 2020, the Bermuda Government enacted Superyacht legislation that opened opportunities to attract and support visiting superyachts and their jet setting guests. Calls by superyachts from March to June delivered a 98.6 percent increase in estimated economic impact that represented approx. $371K injection of revenue into Bermuda.
The report shows that during Q2 there were no travellers who sailed into Bermuda via cruise ship however, six percent of the air visitors flew in for Viking Ocean Cruise’s Homeporting programme. 65 percent of visitors to Bermuda chose to stay in hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses and 9 percent in vacation rentals. Whereas eleven percent stayed in private homes, yachts or unspecified accommodation types and nine percent came to the island to stay with friends and relatives.
Charles H Jeffers II, Chief Executive Officer at BTA said: “As expected the figures are pretty sombre. We have more work to do to reach our pre-pandemic visitor arrival numbers, yet we are encouraged by the progress since last year and are cautiously optimistic about the future. The bright spots that emerged from the data included longer stays, high visitor satisfaction metrics, and the blossoming superyacht market.
“Our team remains vigilant as we keep tabs on the ballooning impact of the Delta variant on global travel’s rebound. We are working to ensure that the on-island visitor experience is positive and memorable and that we connect with our potential visitors in key markets through innovative and effective marketing programmes such as our ongoing partnership with the US Open.
We continue to work closely with the Department of Health and our industry stakeholders to ensure that we prioritise health and safety while balancing the need for reduced friction experiences while in Bermuda.”