Video: BTA Release 2015 Q1 Tourism Stats

May 5, 2015

[Updated with video] Air arrivals declined 6.7%, however visitor spending in Bermuda grew more than 20% in the first quarter of 2015 “injecting an additional $6 million into the local economy,” the Bermuda Tourism Authority announced today.

“Among air visitors the average per person spending during the first quarter increased 29.3% from $949 per person to $1,227 per person – a $278 increase,” the BTA said. “The estimated economic impact of that spending was $35.5 million, up $6.1 million year over year.”

BTA Visitor Arrival Report 1

“That increased spending was particularly felt within the local restaurant industry where two local restaurant groups report receipts in the first quarter up 10.4% and 6.5% when compared to last year.”

“As we’ve stated many times, one of our primary missions at the Tourism Authority is to increase visitor spending and this data proves a breakthrough in this area,” said the BTA’s CEO Bill Hanbury. “I’m particularly pleased to see the increased spending touched so many aspects of the visitor experience, all over the island.

“These results reflect positively on the BTA’s ability to reach its target audience with the right kind of marketing messages. Then, our product and experiences team is helping industry stakeholders align their tourism offerings in a way that delivers what visitors tell us they want. With the net result being, visitors are willing to spend more on the Bermuda tourism experiences that match their desires.”

BTA Visitor Arrival Report 2

Hotel Stays

The BTA said, “First quarter visitor statistics also reveal visitors stayed in Bermuda longer than they did last year – up 2.6% year over year. Additionally, the average daily rate for a hotel room was up 6.3%. These data points also contributed to the 21% increase in visitor spending in the local economy.

“Interestingly, the bigger economic impact on the economy was achieved despite fewer air visitors coming to Bermuda. This occurred because the visitors who came spent more on average and stayed longer.

Visitor Arrivals

“Air arrivals declined 6.7% [2,066], a decrease largely attributed to a 14.5% reduction [16,040] in the number of seats available after some airlines reduced airlift capacity to Bermuda in the first quarter,” the BTA said.

“The reduced airlift was a real challenge for us,” said Mr. Hanbury. “But on the other hand we’re encouraged because even with the loss of more than 16,000 seats in the quarter, air arrivals are down only fractionally. The 2,000 visitors decline is a number we can potentially wipe out with just one strong month elsewhere in the year.”

BTA Visitor Arrival Report 3

“Overall, with cruise and yacht arrivals factored in, total visitor arrivals were down 5.3% in the first quarter of 2015,” the BTA said.

“In the purpose of visit category, travelers on vacation was the most resilient category in the face of decreased air capacity. The visiting friends/relatives and business categories were down 14.3% and 5.6% respectively, while the vacationers category was down 3.6%. This suggests the category most targeted in the Tourism Authority’s marketing strategy is responding well to the BTA’s messaging.”

BTA Visitor Arrival Report 4


The BTA said, “More than 85% of the eliminated airline seats were on flights emanating from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, also known as the Middle Atlantic region. Within the Mid-Atlantic almost 20% fewer visitors came from New Jersey and 22% fewer visitors came from Pennsylvania, indicating reduced airlift had a major impact on travelers from those states in particular.”

BTA Visitor Arrival Report 5

The BTA said, “Tomorrow Mr. Hanbury will convene a collection of private sector stakeholders to discuss strategies for improving airlift to the island. The group will seek to find the right balance between increased capacity to Bermuda and route profitability for the airlines.

“This is an issue that is important not just to the BTA, but also to international business, small business owners and Bermuda residents.”

Update 9.23pm: Video added below

Slide presentation below [and all graphics above] provided by the BTA:

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Comments (31)

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  1. $1000 a day pay scale says:

    Let me explain to you what people do when STRESSED! They eat more food and drink more alcohol that’s why we are riding a wave of sales growth in Bermuda. Not lets talk about what the oba hired you accomplish @ a pay scale of $1000 a day. Bring in more tourist but your arrivals is decline 6.7%! :(

    The OBA are being very creative because we are being told/played there’s no money…and when someone’s being paid $1,000 a day of tax payer money it makes me LMAO.

    • Chris says:

      For $1000 a day we could hire 5 people and pay them $200 each.
      Job #1 will be paid to Finance the Bull S
      Job #2 will be paid to market the Bull S
      Job #3 will be paid to account for the Bull S
      Job #4 will be paid to lie about the Bull S

      Job #5 will be paid to protect Bermuda from 1 to 4 Bull S.

  2. 2000 jobs says:

    A little boy asked his father, “Daddy, how much did it cost to get married to the UBP/OBA in 2012?” Father replied, “I don’t know son, I’m still paying for it.”

    • Redman says:

      @ 2000 jobs,

      You’d be correct if you had used the PLP as we are still paying for their failure and will be for a very long time. Fail.

    • aceboy says:

      2000, You are kidding right?

  3. Ringmaster says:

    At least since 2012 the purpose of visit is being shown. During the so called Platinum period these were just lumped together to hide the deficiency in vacation visitors. Clearly the reduction in people on work permits is reflected in the number visiting them and the downturn in business, especially IB has also resulted in a downturn in business visitors. Neither have anything to do with the Tourism Department. The cost of the BTA is really just the vacation visitors, and the others should be ignored as they do not visit because of the BTA. Amount spent can also be influenced by the costs – increased hotel nights for example. Show the full stats, as just based on what is shown Bermuda is still not benefitting from the tens of millions of dollars given to the BTA.

    • hmmm says:

      sniff BS

    • @ Ringmaster: Thanks for “calling a spade a spade.” The P.L.P. hadn’t divided the business visitors from the flight and cruise ship tourists they’d lumped them all together and projected the illusion of a “Platinum Period”. Granted, things have declined due to several reason, one of course is the cost of flights from everywhere and hotels and guesthouses accommodations.
      We need to,(as I’ve mentioned over countless years)and heard the Shadow Minister Zane DeSilva comment on the exact same thing, “our advertising sucks.” If we see so called 3rd. world and other places to our South being advertised on T.V. throughout the Eastern coastline of the U.S.A. and other places then why aren’t we? (Trouble is inevitable but misery, it’s optional)

  4. curious says:

    I want to know how the BTA is expected to make tourism better without any change in our tourism product …. Because from the time the BTA was created up until now we are definitely not getting bang for our buck

    • Mockingjay says:

      Well Hanbury is definitely getting a BANG for his bucks, $1,000.00 a day worth !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      What a F!@#ING JOKE.

  5. Ann says:

    So glad there was something for the people that voted for the party that spent all our money to post on today, they have been quiet lately! When will the ignorant realize we threw 800 million dollars to the wind, and what we have now is the cause. How do you expect any party to fix that much damage in 2 years, let me guess put the PLP back in power. At least if we do that we won’t have the civil service expense because no one will be here to pay!!!! Get smarter people!!!

    • Will says:

      Raggedy Ann shut the _-_K U the crickets outside are making more noise then the oba circus.

  6. somuchless says:

    All the screw ups they’ve done and the continuous downturn in arrivals and not one person from the bta has been fired/let go. Deffinatly operating like a gov department.

  7. Coffee says:

    Mr.Hanbury has a very expensive way of turning sour lemons into syrupy lemonade with a horrible aftertaste . Here is a guy who is steadily turning out negative returns on our money but would have us believe all is well , and like The Candyman he makes us all feel good about it .

    • navin johnson says:

      Unlike your Government Coffee who took a finely tuned engine and killed it along with the goose that laid the golden egg……we will be tasting the after effect of the PLP for generations to come….$190,000,000.00 every year just to service the debt you left behind and still people like you spew on and on….the Great Plague of Bermuda ……the PLP

      • Better Bermuda for All says:

        The Great Plague…brilliant analogy. I’d take locusts instead anyday

      • Mockingjay says:

        And paying Hanbury $1,000.00 a day is justified.

      • That’s a major problem. It seems to be forgotten / overlooked by them who’d supported the Opposition (Progressive Labour Party)for so many years and will without any doubt vote for them again. Why? Because they can’t think for themselves Sad yes, but true :-(

      • johnny says:

        The engine may have been fine tuned but it was not built for Bermuda roads. It was the wrong class size and only the wealthy could afford it. That’s why we got a new model that was more Bermudian friendly. Now the OBA is trying to bring back the big engine that no Bermudians want.

  8. On de Hill says:

    Let’s wait until we see the numbers at the end of the year.

  9. Slinky says:

    Down fall like this happens when you have people who
    a) have no interest and only care about a paycheck
    b) have no experience in the industry

  10. Tourism Advocate says:

    Serious question of which I welcome debate: Which performance number is more important to the country’s economic success — total air arrivals or total visitor spending?

    Both numbers are important obviously but isn’t visitor spending slightly more important because it’s tied directly to growing the economy and creating jobs and bringing in new investment?

  11. yes I says:

    It’s time for our own airline to be put on the table. Having control over our own routes and direction is necessary. When the airlines can no longer be subsidized to come here, our scramble will be too late. Yes it will cost!!! And cost a lot! But the cost of not making that investment will cost us more in the long term.

    • flikel says:

      Having our own airline makes no sense. If the existing commercial airlines are recuding flights and capacity to Bermuda due to too many empty seats…how will having our own airline solve the problem?

      • Yes I says:

        That’s because you’re thinking of using the exact same aircraft. It makes good sense. The very nature of our commerce is our ability to travel. Business visitors and locals do need reliable service. What happens when there are no flights due to “reduced capacity”?

    • Family Man says:

      We do such a great job running buses and ferries, running an airline must be a piece of cake.

    • stunned... says:

      we can’t run the effing buses and ferries on time or at all, let alone airlines. what are you thinking?

  12. swing voter says:

    I’m ignoring all references to the PLP era….what the hell are we gonna do NOW to improve numbers?!

    (1) no new hotels

    (2) Airlines are greedy ‘partners’

    (3) Existing hotel properties are milking anyone who wants to come

    Billy you and your team should address the above. How the hell can you improve numbers if there are no new property rooms to put pressure on the greedy bunch!

    • Mockingjay says:

      That’s what we’re paying him $1,000.00 a day for !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!