BTA: Leisure Air Arrivals Surged 17% Last Year

February 15, 2017

“Younger travellers fuelled strong growth in visitor spending, hotel occupancy and vacation air arrivals,” the Bermuda Tourism Authority said, adding that “vacationers by air and sea spent $267 million on-island, $41 million more in 2016 than they did in 2015.”

“That increased revenue went directly into local tourism businesses. It’s an 18 percent spending increase year-over-year,” the BTA said.

“Meantime, leisure air arrivals surged 17 percent last year – an increase of 24,234 visitors travelled to the island. The 164,321 vacation arrivals by air in 2016 is the highest volume for leisure air arrivals since 2007.

“Meantime, 76 percent of the vacationer growth last year is from travellers under the age of 45, an indicator of sustainability for visitor growth going forward.

BTA Year-end Visitors Report 2016 Bermuda February 15 2017

Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] CEO Kevin Dallas said: “Over the past two years, the Bermuda Tourism Authority rebranded the island’s image, redefined its target audience and sharpened its focus on core markets.

“Those very deliberate and strategic steps have led to the results revealed today – travellers who are more experiential and younger. And these visitors are spending more because we supported Bermudian entrepreneurs willing to deliver products and experiences that are aligned with the audience we’re attracting.”

The BTA added, “A return on investment study conducted by Longwoods International revealed BTA’s 2016 advertising campaign boosted consumers’ perception that Bermuda is “an exciting destination offering a sense of adventure”.

“These perceptions, created through marketing, helped to drive younger visitors to the island and, according to the report’s findings, generated incremental trips to Bermuda that would not have otherwise occurred.

“Leisure air arrivals from New York led the charge, up 46 percent in 2016 when compared to the previous year. Air capacity from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Bermuda was up 43 percent last year, while overall seat capacity from all destinations serving the island was higher by 11 percent.

“The Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities and the Department of Airport Operations lead Bermuda’s efforts on airlift, last year successfully negotiating with airlines to secure additional seats for the destination.

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“The increased supply of seats paved the way for the BTA to raise demand. Vacationers flying from Connecticut and Washington, DC were also up sharply, 27 and 24 percent respectively.

“A 23 percent year-over-year increase in leisure air arrivals from the United States more than offset vacation performance out of Canada and United Kingdom, which were both down slightly.

“Twelve consecutive months of vacation air arrival growth in 2016 led to a strong ten percent increase in hotel occupancy. The performance was especially pronounced in the shoulder season. In November and December of 2016 for example, hotel occupancy surged 31 and 23 percent respectively.

45-minute live video replay of today’s BTA 2016 Visitor Arrivals press conference

“Increased hotel occupancy, particularly between November and March, means hotel workers are getting more money in their pay checks, taxi drivers are picking up more fares and the tourism economy is one step closer to a year-round destination,” said Mr Dallas.

“But even with this strong performance in 2016, we are still well short of where we need to be – whether it’s hotel occupancy, visitor arrivals or job creation.

“While the 2016 year-end report is validation that we’re on the right track. Our job now is to surge forward with this winning strategy and ensure Bermuda reaches its full potential as a tourism destination.”

The BTA said, “Cruise and yacht arrivals in 2016 were also up for the year. When combined with vacation air arrivals, total leisure arrivals for Bermuda surged eight percent when compared to 2015. The number of visitors flying in to see friends and relatives or to conduct business were relatively flat.”

The full 2016 Visitor Arrivals Report follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (8)

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  1. HoldUp says:

    I don’t know about you but Bermuda has for sure increased our profits and have welcomed more visitors under the OBA government, they don’t get everything right but compared to how it used to be, I’m more than happy with the progress being made. At the end of the day though it comes down to ALL Bermudians making a difference.

  2. Up D hill says:

    Awesome BTA!!!!! Simply Awesome!

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    Finally a year of good results & there are only 2 comments. We are one ungrateful bunch.

  4. biggadon says:

    Events like Bermuda Heroes Weekend drew in alot of younger travellers who actually spent money on island…. lets hope this is a sign that the Phoenix is rising from the ashes.

    • Me says:

      Yes, it did contribute to those numbers. Do you remember all the negativity that surrounded the event? Well it was a success with not much spending if any of the tax payers money. Great job to those that host Hero’s weekend.

  5. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Said this before (and as I expected last time) I’ll say this again (and still don’t expect anything this time), but all of those who, from past to present shadow tourism ministers to the online trollers who denigrated, belittled and denounced Mr. Hanbury and the BTA owe them a huge apology. For the years of ugliness they endured through and still managed to turn around our tourism market in the face of all that opposition, and with half the budget the PLP couldn’t succeed with.

  6. You see this says:

    Funny how when something good is happening you see no one comment, just goes to show you who is really on here. Internet warriors!

    Side note: PLP sees all the good happening and they want to be apart of it to say they did it!

  7. Clare says:

    Well done Team Bermuda! The whole tourism industry including BTA are pulling in the same direction now, to turn things around together. It makes me so happy and proud of Bermuda! Bermy loooooove!