‘Highest Number Of Visitors In Recorded History’

February 6, 2018 | 44 Comments

2017 “brought the highest number of visitors to the island in recorded history,” the Bermuda Tourism Authority said, adding that “the 692,947 total arrivals is the best statistical performance dating back to 1965.”

The BTA said that previously, 2007 was the high mark, and added, “However, ten years ago the balance between air and cruise visitors was more evenly split, delivering a more significant positive impact for the local economy.”

In addition the BTA said “year-end hotel occupancy passed the 60 percent mark for the first time since 2007.”

Leisure Air Visitors: Arrivals & Spending

BTA Leisure Air Visitors Arrivals & Spending

“Bermuda’s tourism industry achieved its most impressive performance in a decade last year with the number of leisure air visitors and the money they spend on-island surging to double-digit percentage growth,” the BTA said.

“Additionally, 2017 brought the highest number of visitors to the island in recorded history. The 692,947 total arrivals is the best statistical performance dating back to 1965. Previously, 2007 was the high water mark.

“However, ten years ago the balance between air and cruise visitors was more evenly split, delivering a more significant positive impact for the local economy.

Leisure Visitor Arrivals by Air

BTA Leisure Visitor Arrivals by Air

“All key performance indicators for the tourism industry finished higher in 2017 when compared to the previous year:

  • Air leisure spending up 22.5%
  • Cruise spending up 7.6%
  • Leisure air arrivals up 11%
  • Hotel occupancy up 9.2%

“Beginning in 2014 the Bermuda Tourism Authority began a multiyear strategy to restore the island’s tourism industry to prominence. Last year was a major stride forward on that journey,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority Chief Executive Kevin Dallas.

“Balancing air and cruise arrivals and breaking the back of seasonality remain areas where the industry has a lot of work to do, but the performance in 2017 should give all of Bermuda a dose of optimism that we can overcome our tourism challenges in the years ahead if we continue on the current path.”

The 40-minute live video replay of today’s BTA presentation is below

“Further driving optimism is the number of visitors under 45 years-old, which continues to power the Bermuda tourism industry comeback. About 83% of the growth in leisure air arrivals in 2017 is from visitors younger than 45.

“It’s an audience that also had spending power in 2017. The total estimated amount directly injected into the island’s economy by visitors in 2017 is $431 million, which represents a sizeable 20% increase over the previous year.

“Bermuda’s tourism industry has been resurging since 2015, particularly over the past two years where the island has enjoyed eight consecutive quarters of leisure air arrival growth and increased leisure visitor spending. In 2017, the 35th America’s Cup played a critical role in driving demand and higher visitor spending, not only in May and June but throughout much of the year.

Executive Summary extracted from the BTA report

Large text here explaining the graphic

“The number of visitors who chose vacation rentals when they travelled to Bermuda surged 133 percent in 2017 versus 2016, according to Airbnb data shared with the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Meantime year-end hotel occupancy passed the 60 percent mark for the first time since 2007.

“Shawn Sullivan of Airbnb said: “Bermuda represents an incredibly important and growing market for Airbnb. Through our partnership agreement with Bermuda’s government and tourism authority we have significantly grown our supply and increased the number of visitors for Bermudian homeowners. In 2018 we plan to further develop our partnership in Bermuda and engage the community with more home sharing educational seminars across the island.”

“With all vacation rentals factored into the equation, 10 percent of total visitors chose vacation rentals last year.

Vacation Rental Market Performance

BTA Vacation Rental Market Performance

“Simultaneously, the hotel sector island-wide experienced a strong growth year with occupancy climbing 9 percent to 63 percent for the year. While the Bermuda hotel sector as a whole requires further growth to reach sustainable profitability levels, the performance in 2017 was the best in a decade.

“On the revenue side, performance was even more impressive for local hotels with revenue per available room going up 19.5 percent and the average daily rate moving 9 percent higher. The 35th America’s Cup in 2017 played a critical role in driving demand and higher visitor spending for the hotel sector, not only in May and June but throughout much of the year.

Hotel Performance

BTA Hotel Performance

“Meantime, a sizable increase in hotel inventory is in the pipeline for the first time in a generation. By New Year’s Day 2018, Azura, Caroline Bay and the St. George’s Resort all had shovels in the ground, and in some cases, structures taking shape. When work is completed Bermuda will have 240 additional hotel rooms to join up with a growing vacation rental inventory which surged 96 percent in 2017, among Airbnb listings.

“A full year-end statistical report on tourism industry performance in 2017 is available on the Bermuda Tourism Authority website. A report detailing fourth quarter activity at the BTA is also available online.”

The full Year End Visitors Report 2017 follows below [PDF here]:

click here banner Bermuda tourism

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Comments (44)

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  1. Warlord2 says:

    Well done OBA

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      You are FUNNY :-D

    • Too bad their social publicity was poor.

      • The real Terry says:

        Maybe in your biased bigoted eyes O. J. but the results speak for themselves. And by the way the A C was solely the brain child and work of the OBA, we all know what the PLP and our Tourism minister contributed to this “Mickey Mouse” event

      • aceboy says:

        It is a shame that so many sheeple fell for the silly antics played by the PLP and the Unions. Even some very intelligent people I know well fell hook line and sinker for the tricks.

      • Heyy says:

        Showing your true self that you are not for Bermudians, just for your close PLP cronies. Shame on you

  2. wahoo says:

    Thank you OBA!

    • Thank Zika and de hurricanes.

    • NO….Wahoo…
      No matter whomever is in Government, the fact remains: these people come to Bermuda, rent mini cars or mopeds and buy NOTHING…No matter who is in politics.
      They are much more frugal than ever.
      Continue on positively P.L.P.

  3. Thank you BTA and OBA says:

    Well done for executing an excellent strategy at a much needed time in our country’s history.

    Let’s not politic this and simply accept a good plan was created and executed and use that template to drive future growth.

    Bermuda can do it–this proves it.

    Bill Hanbury–I sure hope you are reading this article–you should be proud and this vindicates everything you did. Sorry that some of my fellow Bermudians treated you in a less than courteous way but you delivered, thank you!

  4. Syrup says:


  5. Mark says:

    Kudos OBA.

  6. Hmm says:

    Where is onion juice?

  7. mixitup says:

    Well Done Bermuda! Not Well done OBA… A collective effort here, not to mention some good luck..

    - Your extra Cruise Port (Heritage Warf, a Former Administrations brain child) allowed Bermuda to accomodate 60,000-100,000 additional cruise visitors
    - The legacy Airlines and the new routes/lift created (AA- Miami, Jet Blue – BOS & JFK, West Jet- YYZ) Handed to Bermuda by a former Administration
    - The Zika Virus in the Caribbean gave Bermuda a Major Boost with Baby Mooners and free advertising luring many not expecting also.
    - The Hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean, in Particular the High End Islands (BVI, Turks, Anguilla) continue to drive those visitors to Bermuda (And to Cayman who also reported a bumper year)
    - Americas Cup of course capped off a spectacular year

    These numbers are a celebration of Bermuda NOT the OBA… A Celebration for the hard working folks in the industry, including your Bus Drivers, your Garbage collectors who play their part in keeping the Island looking as it does, all of your Hotel Workers and Taxi Drivers, Restaurants etc. etc.
    We all win when we work together for a Better Bermuda.

    • Zevon says:

      No, you mean well done OBA and BTA. It all happened despite all the obstacles you lot tried putting in the way.

      Let’s see Jamahl do the same. He’s got a bit mouth, let’s see if he actually do anything. Somehow I doubt it, since he’s never done anything of note in his life so far.

    • Answer says:

      Good points.

      But the clowns will believe it was all oba/UBP.

    • Justin says:

      Wrong. Everything besides Zika and the Americas Cup were there during the ‘Platinum Period’ of the PLP.

      I’d say 90% of the credit goes to the OBA for delivering the BTA and the Americas Cup.

    • Ok says:

      Keep telling yourself that…lol

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    I guess we should say thankyou BTA & thankyou to the OBA for creating the BTA. Back to the future of the old Trade Development Board before politicians got their sticky fingers involved. It works.

  9. Marge says:

    Great news,keep it up.

  10. Rhonda says:

    The numbers look great..however, one thing we are doing today that we didn’t do years ago..was subside travel..we the taxpayer are paying directly for airfare and hotel rooms…

  11. Oh really says:

    Hmmm my my can you believe that??? What does the fools & nay sayers have to say. They will never give the OBA the credit they deserve. It’s all about them and their part politics. PLP will never run this island like the OBA did. Watch out for the budget and see how Burt plans to pay down the debt???? Very interested to see this budget……..

  12. Arthur - Atlanta says:

    My 2017 Visitor Micro Number Crunching Breakdown (VMNCB) for kid!
    Year 692,947
    Monthly 57,746
    Weekly 14,436
    Daily 2062
    Hour 86
    Minute 1.43

  13. Sage says:

    Come on Onion Juice – tell us how evil it must be to have all those visitors walking on your backyard!

    • This is good news, for paying the BTA CEO $1000 a day I say we’re getting bang for buck.
      Zika and hurricanes gave a boost.

      • Hmm says:

        $1000 a day is how much a CEO should get paid. Maybe if you dedicated a good portion of your life to education and career experience you could be making $1000 a day too, but instead you’re here spouting ignorance

      • Zevon says:

        Zika was 2015 and 16.

        The hurricanes reduced visitors by 4,000 who cancelled bookings thinking we are in the caribbean, They believed that stupid crap peddled by the PLP about how Bermuda is part of the Caribbean.

        So there goes that theory. Asshat.

    • Double S says:

      No…this was achieved on the back of ‘his people’ will be his comment.

  14. The Kid says:

    Thanks Bob, Mike Winfield, Peter Durhager, all the volunteers, the supporters and the workers who made this possible. Thier vision is outstanding and the names of all of them should bel carved on a wall somewhere…

  15. facts of the rock says:

    and the plp did nuttin!

  16. Alan Parsons says:

    It would be interesting to know how many of the 418,000 cruise visitors actually got off the ship. My guess is about 70%. How many actually left Dockyard? Well under 30% is my reckoning. How many spent more than three hours ashore? Well under 50% I’d say.

    The basic problem is Government not paying attention as long the head tax keeps getting paid. This has created a situation in which the cruise lines are free to pretty much do as they please – which means do everything in their power to keep revenue on board or failing that direct it to chosen on shore businesses that pay them anywhere from 10 to 40% of revenue. To these revenue enhancing ends at the expense of Bermudian owned businesses this has resulted in the following:

    The ships being slowed down so what was a 36 hour crossing is now 48. Of course they make it back in less than 36.

    “Guaranteed” shore excursions being sold on shore for 40% than the same excursion on the same boat purchased directly from the operator.

    An infamous (check Trip Advisor) foreign jewellery store staffed mainly by imported, seasonal low cost sales associates – oddly a closed category for local retail employers – operating a seasonal business literally at the foot of the pier. The on board cruise staff are directed to make sure all passengers know that this is the only “guaranteed” shop – what the passengers are never told is that this is a paid for advertisement.

    Despite the growing arrivals figures for cruise ships, this state of affairs is a disgrace and both the former Government and Wedco have betrayed Bermudians for a few pieces of silver.

    • Alan Parsons says:

      4th paragraph – Read ‘being sold on board for 40% more… Sorry.

  17. Make a new plan Stan says:

    How many people came to BERMUDA in 2007 and how much money was spent in that year to get that number of people here?

    How many more people came in 2016 and 2017 ?

    How much did BERMUDA pay to host and prepare for the America’s Cup?

  18. Me says:

    Well done OBA it will all come out as trump elected a loooney president we made a very bad choice here in Bermuda I guess our emotions got in the way oh my
    pain and suffering in our horizon quicker than we think
    How’s our new government working out fo you NO hange for the better huh
    And that massive milestone PLP inflicted debt is ever looming

  19. Raymond "Ray Love" Robinson says:


  20. ROGER LAMBERT says:


  21. Well done says:

    Thanks OBA. And now we wait for the next big thing like the America’s Cup or new hotel Developments

  22. Claire says:

    Well done to the whole tourism industry who have really rallied in the last few years to all pull together in the same direction and turn around 30 years of decline. Team Bermuda can achieve great things when we all work together toward a shared vision. Please, let’s do more of this!

  23. Stay woke says:

    So 60% of the “record numbers” are cruise visitors and you all take a victory lap? I think you mean thank you PLP for building Heritage Wharf. The spin is dizzying.

  24. Moss says:

    Well done to the BTA for great numbers in 2017!

    Unfortunately it looks as though the tides might be turning very soon: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightscampaign/photos/a.10150307206218281.358630.18813753280/10156149947313281/?type=3&theater

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