Minister: Air Visitors Increase, Cruise Decrease

November 18, 2013

Visitors to the island by air increased in the third quarter by 2.4% while cruise arrivals declined by 12% year over year, Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said today [Nov 18].

Minister Crockwell said, “Total visitor arrivals for the third quarter of 2013 decreased 7.6% when compared to the same quarter of 2012.

“A continued reduction in cruise arrivals contributed to this decline with a total of 240,348 visitors arriving on Bermuda’s shores compared with 260,129 visitors in the third quarter of 2012.”

Chart extracted from the 3rd Quarter Visitor Arrival Report [PDF]:

Fullscreen capture 11182013 33107 PM

“The estimated visitor spending for the third quarter ranged between $87.2 million to $118.1 million versus a range of $97.9 million to $117.1 million in 2012,” the Minister continued.

“As we look to future air arrivals and forward projections of the islands hotels, we note that there continues to be positive signs for the next six months.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning!

I am happy to be able to share the Third Quarter visitor arrival results for 2013 at a time when there are positive signs of improvement, especially for air arrivals. This presentation of the visitor statistics will be my final one as Minister.

As promised, with the passing of the Tourism Authority Act, the Chairman Mr. David Dodwell or the CEO will take on this responsibility. The passage of this ground breaking Act will, from this time forward, influence and manage the future sales and marketing direction of Tourism.

Fully aligned to the National Tourism Plan, this now sets the road map for increasing jobs and opportunity in the tourism industry. I am especially pleased with the progress of the transition and expect to be announcing a brand new Board of Directors in the very near future.

Now to the arrivals!

Visitors to the island by Air increased in the third quarter by 2.4%. A total of 82,819 visitors flew to the island during this period compared to 80,852 in 2012.

All categories of purpose of visit showed increases for the quarter with the biggest increase achieved being convention travelers which saw a jump of 110% year over year.

Visitors from the UK and Rest of the world markets soared, increasing by 20% and 49% respectively, while visitors from the United States and Europe remained relatively flat.

The month of July was the biggest gainer with a 6% increase, August slipped modestly by 1% and September gained by 2%.

Arrivals from the Canadian market continue to be affected by the reduction in service decreasing arrivals by 12%.

On a positive note, Air Canada has already added two additional flights for the winter months, with a further increase scheduled for summer 2014, and it is anticipated that this will once again boost visitors from the Canadian market.

The New York market continued to be the best achieving area of the US market with a 13% increase in the third quarter and a cumulative 11% increase year to date.

The strategic addition of Delta service out of La Guardia has spurred this growth. The decision to allocate our promotional dollars in the all-important Northeast market continues to pay dividends.

Cumulative air arrivals for the period January to September 2013 are up 1%. Preliminary results for October 2013 will result in a 2% increase in arrivals. UK air bookings, for all of 2014, are already pacing 16% ahead of the same period in 2013.

Cruise arrivals, on the other hand, continued their expected decline. With 20 less cruise calls on the books compared to the third quarter of 2012, cruise visitation declined by 12% year over year. A total of 157,373 visitors sailed to the island during this period.

Yacht arrivals in the third quarter are typically a slow period with 156 yachtsmen sailing to the island during this period representing a modest increase of 3%.

Total visitor arrivals for the third quarter of 2013 decreased 7.6% when compared to the same quarter of 2012.

A continued reduction in cruise arrivals contributed to this decline with a total of 240,348 visitors arriving on Bermuda’s shores compared with 260,129 visitors in the third quarter of 2012.

The estimated visitor spending for the third quarter ranged between $87.2 million to $118.1 million versus a range of $97.9 million to $117.1 million in 2012.

As we look to future air arrivals and forward projections of the islands hotels, we note that there continues to be positive signs for the next six months.

The Hotel Pace report, which monitors the advanced bookings for the islands major hotels, as of October 31, 2013, reported that their total rooms on the books year-to-date for 2013 are down 1% from last year.

It should be noted that a significant number of visitors are booking vacation home accommodation and this segment of the market continues to show gains.

Total rooms on the books for the next 6 months are pacing up 6% vs. last year.

Transient rooms on the books for the next 6 months are up 8% vs. last year, with large increases in the months of December and April.

Group rooms on the books for the next 6 months are up 20% over last year, with the most significant increases in the months of November, December and April.

Tour Operator rooms on the books for the next 6 months are up 13% vs. this time last year, with a very large increase in December.

If 2013 concludes at the current pace, the hotels anticipate that they will finish with a 1% increase over last year in room nights achieved.

In closing, I remain absolutely committed to a very successful transition to the new Tourism Authority. There is still much work to be done but we continue to be on track with the full transition by March 31, 2014.

I would like to thank Chairman Dodwell and his team for the tremendous hard work being put in to make the Authority a reality; to all of our Department of Tourism staff, our overseas agency partners, our tourism industry partners and, most of all, the people of Bermuda for the dedication towards continued growth and desire to be a destination of which we can all continue to be proud!

Thank you

-

The 3rd Quarter Visitor Arrival Report is below [PDF here]:

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Comments (17)

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  1. swing voter says:

    who compiled the data, hope its not uncle bobs crew

  2. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    Just a lot of rah rah reh reh…why do you all fall under this pretty colorful graphs and the use of the Amazing English Language!…bunch o bureaucratic b#lls#!t …THIS ISLAND NEEDS ENTERTAINMENT 24 HOURS A DAY. Step ur Game up Bermy or face Defeat.

  3. College student says:

    Bring back college weeks and get us on The Travel Channel and HGTV!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      College Weeks are history. We can’t compete with the cheap rooms & cheap beer of the Gulf Coast & Mexico. Students & their parents do not have the money that their grandparents had for such frivolous spending.

      Exposure on the Travel Channel, TWC & HGTV would be good along with maybe offering Bermuda trips on the major game shows like Wheel of Fortune.

      I often wonder how much the Bahamian & Jamaican equivilant of our DOT spends on their islands compared to us?

  4. jt says:

    2,000 more air arrivlas likely spent more than was lost with 20,000 fewer cruise arrivals.

  5. X man says:

    I have traveled back and forth 4 times this year and all of the flights were half full and to add to this I have
    have friends and family that travel also – that say the same thing.
    It’s hard to believe the data presented is true.
    All my friends come here on cruise ship now because of bad experiences at the Airport customs -
    this just don’t sound right -
    Back in the 70′s to the 90′s people would have believed anything — not today
    NOT BUYING IT’

  6. godson says:

    Were spending too much time trying to attract IB, Tourism was/needs to be our greatest pride. We can’t serve two masters…All of the above ideas are excellent ideas…They better listen to the people! I mean the people that vote..

    • Mike Hind says:

      Sorry, but no. The amount of money IB brought in meant that it absolutely was the right choice.

      Where the problem lay was that IB brings in a TONNE of money, but not a lot of jobs, hence our need for tourism.

      It’s all enmeshed together. One example is airfares…

      One of the things that attracts IB is low airfares.
      There are two ways to get low airfares:
      1) subsidize the airlines
      2) create, through a healthy tourism industry, a demand for flights to Bermuda. The higher the demand, the more they have to supply. The more supply, the lower the price for fares. That’s economics 101.

      It’s not a case of serving two masters, it’s about creating a healthy balance between the two legs of our economy.

      • godson says:

        C’mon Mike. Where does it stop..IB folk will continue to “bring in TONNES of money, but not a lot of jobs”…which one is more important right now? I’m not saying to get rid of IB, I’m saying to place more emphasis on Tourism which will bring in TONNES of $ and CREATE jobs.. Maybe places like Shines would still be open…you could do your thing also mate..we have a lot of entertainers down here ready to do their thing…IB professionals are not spending the TONNES of $ in the places that tourists spend..IB professionals are spending money on places that rent out extremely ridiculous rents thus creating a larger gap between the haves and have nots..our greatest resource are our people like you and I..

        • Mike Hind says:

          Tourism simply doesn’t bring in enough money. It doesn’t bring in TONNES of money, as you seem to think. The reason we have traditionally been so successful is because of a healthy symbiosis between the two.

          Oh, and IB professionals do spend their money where tourists do and where locals do. Have done for years.
          We do need to place more emphasis on Tourism than we are now, but not at the cost of IB.

          We need to promote and support both of them to get the balance back.

          • godson says:

            Mike, there isn’t enough room for both of them to be our main pillar. I never said that IB doesn’t bring in $$…I stated that tourism brings in $$$ AND CREATE JOBS, which would be a win/win situation for BDA…Why aren’t we satisfied with the IB sector that’s here now? Encourage/strenghthen the relationship/s so that they would be encouraged to stay/spend more locally…The balance that Bda needs ($$, jobs, social stability) is through tourism…I love IB folk, but we can’t be so focused on serving them, that we forget who we are and where we came from (Gombeys don’t dance for IB professionals- They dance for tourists)…-peace

        • Sandy Bottom says:

          IB brings in hundreds of jobs, and about 20 times more money than tourism. It would be nice to grow tourism, and it would create jobs, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it can replace IB.

  7. fred says:

    Minister Crockwell,

    In reference to your quote “I am happy to be able to share the Third Quarter visitor arrival results for 2013 at a time when there are positive signs of improvement…”

    data from your charts shows,

    2,000 more air visitors minus 20,000 cruise visitors = 18,000 less visitors this quater over last years same quater.

    Even by the new math this isn’t an improvement! It’s 18,000 less visitors to the island !

    • Mike Hind says:

      And the difference in the amounts they spend on island?

      Why don’t you count that?

      The value, money-wise, of an air visitor far outweighs that of a cruise visitor.

      Personally, I’d rather have a visitor that spends a grand than one that spends a hundred bucks.

      Putting quantity over quality is what killed our industry to begin with.