Tourism Ministry: Increase In Canadian Visitors

May 16, 2017

[Updated] “The number of Canadians arriving in Bermuda for the first quarter this year improved by 35 per cent, compared to the first three months of 2016, according to visitor arrival data from the Bermuda Tourism Authority,” the Ministry of Tourism said today.

“The largest percentage increase of any country with direct air service to Bermuda, the growth represents 855 additional visitor arrivals when compared to the same period a year ago,” the Ministry said.

“Vacation/leisure arrivals from the United States continue to show strength, up 22 percent or 2,991 arrivals year-over-year, although UK visits for vacation continue to lag, down 20 percent or by 290 arrivals.

“A recent Caribbean Tourism Organization report listed Bermuda among 13 out of 15 Caribbean region destinations which showed some growth out of Canada in the first quarter.

“Some 76 percent of leisure air arrivals to Bermuda in the first three months came from the United States, 15 percent from Canada and 5 percent from the United Kingdom.

“The Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities leads the country’s airlift strategy with assistance from the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which works on air traveller demand to fill the seats.

“In the first quarter the primary Bermuda tourism markets in the northeast – New York, Boston and Philadelphia – saw strong increases year-over-year: 40 percent, 27.5 percent and 26 percent respectively.”

Tourism, Transport and Municipalities Minister Michael Fahy said, “Winter airlift and moderate airfare prices certainly helped produce this improved performance. Despite a Canada dollar still struggling against other currencies, Westjet and Air Canada kept flights going this winter, and airfare prices were moderate. Without those two contributing factors it’s likely we would not have seen this growth. “

In reviewing the BTA’s latest statistics, the Minister noted: “The BTA news that over-all leisure air arrivals grew 19 percent year-over-year and air vacationer spending surged 30.5 percent is obviously fantastic news.

“This is further validation of the government decision to take politics out of Tourism and create the BTA. Despite the negative remarks from detractors, these increased arrivals are a boost to all the ancillary services that support hotels.

“This includes taxi drivers, mini buses, local restaurants and other tourism related activities. And of course, this provides job opportunities for Bermudians in the hotel industry.

“We look forward to receiving the new JetBlue flights this week as well. Bermuda tourism is looking better and better.

“There are new developments, new flights and increased airlift generally. It is truly an exciting time for Bermuda tourism. The BTA and our industry partners should be congratulated!”

Update 6.18pm: Shadow Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons said, “Following today’s statement by Minister Fahy regarding Canadian tourism, it is clear that while one Bermuda is celebrating these numbers another Bermuda is beginning to ask, “Where are the jobs?”

“OBA policies and direction led to 48 and 49 year lows in air arrivals in 2014 and 2015 and the tourism sector continues to see Bermudian jobs decline, while jobs held by non-Bermudians increased.

“In 2012, the OBA promised 2,000 jobs, however, since that time Bermuda has lost more than 2,000 jobs including 318 hotel jobs.

“When your grades move from an “F” to a “D” that is encouraging, but when increased tourism numbers aren’t bringing with them work for unemployed Bermudians, we should all be concerned.

“Every Bermudian that lost their job last year in the tourism industry has to wonder why they aren’t seeing the results that the OBA is boasting about.

“As they try to pay their bills and keep up with the cost of living, they have to wonder why they aren’t seeing the results the OBA is boasting about.

“The reality is that while one Bermuda, the elite and privileged have many reasons to think things are getting better, the rest of us are being left out and left behind in a Bermuda that is working less and less for Bermudians.

“The BTA and the removal of politics from tourism is something we support. A more collaborative process and better input and consultation with stakeholders is something we believe in and as the government we will continue to facilitate. It is unfortunate however, that the OBA doesn’t seem to care that Bermudian jobs are being lost and that non-Bermudian jobs are the only ones experiencing growth. They seem more interested in taking credit for the work of the BTA than in keeping their promise to create 2000 jobs for Bermudians.

“Bermuda can do better and it will do better when it has a PLP government that will fight for Bermudian jobs and opportunities. “

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Comments (4)

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  1. Onion Juice says:

    They own de airport, what else do you expect.

  2. Say Whaat says:

    As long as they remain visitors, this is great news.

  3. Smile says:

    In response to Mr Simmons remarks.

    As a Bermudian business owner in the tourism industry – I can say that under the OBA we are finally seeing green shoots of growth and optimism. I have been able to save Bermudian jobs at my business that likely would have been lost given the direction Bermuda was headed under the PLP rule.
    In addition in the past year our business has been able to increase employment numbers of Bermudians given the positive buzz around Bermuda and the uptick in our tourism economy.

    Sadly, all bets are off if the PLP gets back in. The reality is Bermuda will suffer and our business won’t be able to employ as many jobs.
    Despite the opposition constantly spewing negativity….. pull your heads out of the sand and appreciate Bermuda is Rising under the OBA.