BTA Release 3rd Quarter & YTD Tourism Figures

November 8, 2019

Spending by Bermuda’s leisure air visitors is up so far this year compared to 2018, the BTA said today [Nov 8], despite fewer air arrivals during the third quarter following flight cancellations caused by Hurricane Humberto and reduced air capacity.

A spokesperson said, “Notably, the year-to-date total forecasts 2019 to be the second-best [following 2018] for leisure air arrivals since 2006.

“The number of cruise vacationers to the island rose, both year-over-year to date and during the July-to-September period—with notable growth in spring and fall, according to the latest figures released today by the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA].

Slide 1

“Leisure air arrivals were down 7.2 percent in Q3, and 6 percent year to date compared to 2018. When compared to 2017, Q3 leisure air arrivals were up 2 percent and 7 percent year to date.

“While total air leisure visitor spending during Q3 of 2019 also fell as a result of lower arrival numbers, cumulative spending so far by visitors was up. And per-person spending by both business and leisure air visitors who came to the island also rose, both in quarter and year-to-date statistics.”

“Visitor spending is a key metric that underscores overall industry profitability, so we’re glad to see year-over-year growth to date in the money visitors are pumping into our economy,” said BTA CEO Kevin Dallas.

“Both Humberto and Jerry were back-to-back factors that reduced the number of visitors able to travel to Bermuda this past quarter, along with fewer airline seats. We’re heartened to see per-person spending by air visitors increasing.

“It’s also pleasing to note cruise arrivals that extend into the fall are on the rise—a key objective in Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan.”

Slide 1

Leisure Spending [Air]

Vacationers arriving by air in Q3 2019 spent $112 million, compared to $113.75 million in the same quarter last year, a decrease of 1.6 percent reflected in the latest figures. Year to date, however, total leisure spending slightly rose 1.1-percent over the nine months so far. And per-person spending by business and leisure air visitors jumped a healthy 5.6 percent and 6 percent, respectively, for Q3, and 16 percent/7.6 percent year to date.

Cruise Arrivals

Cruise arrivals reflected growth, with notable passenger arrival increases during non-summer months that helped drive up both Q3 and year-to-date figures. The number of passengers in 2019 increased 13.4 percent over 2018’s third quarter, with a total of 215,511 passengers over the three-month period, compared to 190,115 in 2018 and 200,455 in 2017. That growth jumped to 14.2 percent for the year-over-year nine-month tally, registering 447,006 visitors to September 30—some 55,712 more than in 2018. Increases in the January–April period and again in September, underscored success in making the island a year-round destination.

Air Arrivals & Capacity

While 7.2.-percent fewer leisure air travellers were recorded in the third quarter compared to 2018, the volume remained 2 percent higher than over the same period in 2017. Total air arrivals for July–September 2019 were 69,714, down 5,371 over Q3 2018, but up 1,379 travellers compared to 2017. Over the past nine months of the year, that translated into a 6-percent decrease. Both reductions can be partially attributed to flight cancellations around September 18’s Cat 3 storm followed by trepidation by travellers around Jerry the following week, as well as fewer seats originating in the core New York market following schedule changes out of John F. Kennedy International Airport that reduced air capacity by 4.8 percent in Q3 and 4.6 percent to date this year. Overall, however, 2019 is shaping up to record the second-highest level of leisure air arrivals since 2006.

Leisure Air Arrivals Bermuda Nov 2019


Lower numbers of leisure air visitors in the third quarter of 2019 had a corresponding downward effect on hotel occupancy, registering a 4.4-percent year-over-year decline in Q3 [74.8 percent], and a 4.5-percent decrease [64.4 percent] for the year to date. Vacation rentals were also down for the period. Overall, a total of 67 percent of all leisure air visitors chose hotel accommodation in Q3, compared to 11 percent who stayed in rental homes or apartments.

“Despite the continued challenges of airline inventory and recent storm interruptions, we are excited about new hotel inventory on the near horizon, as well as successful big-brand event partnerships like the just concluded PGA TOUR: Bermuda Championship,” said Dallas.

“Both will help build Bermuda’s brand reputation, boost visitor numbers into the future and offset constraints.”

The full Q3 2019 Tourism Measures Report follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (8)

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  1. Eve says:

    The continued decline in leisure air arrivals should be a wake up for tourism stakeholders and others who have been blindly supporting the BTA without looking closely at the sales and marketing schemes funded by the BTA. in 2018 there were a record number of Americans who traveled out of the country and 2019 figures are ahead of 2018. The decline in air leisure arrivals supports the belief BTA claimed increases were only piggybacking on increases in Americans and Canadians traveling.
    Bermudians have been accepting BTA’s constant claims of increased visitor spending without getting the facts on how the visitor spending figures are calculated; they are a GUESSTIMATE. The Government should be challenging the BTA visitor spending figures.
    When the BTA started they didn’t go back to the base that carried Bermuda tourism for decades, instead they hired people with no experience in Bermuda tourism thinking Bermuda was like other destinations. The new BTA hires didn’t understand the history of tourism in Bermuda and how to implement plans that took advantage of the history of Bermuda tourism. Obviously BTA’s own National Tourism Plan is more off course than the first one done by a consultant that had no Bermuda experience!

    • Kevin Dallas says:

      I think most Bermudians appreciate that it’s possible to have pride in Bermuda’s tourism history while also recognising that “going back to the base” and failing to innovate is how we went from 6,000 hotel rooms in 1980 to fewer than 2,500 today.

      Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan (It’s not only the BTA’s) is built from AB understanding that we are a destination set apart, with unique challenges, but also opportunities. The plan acknowledged that 2019 would be a challenging year, and sets the focus squarely on executing a long term strategic vision for tourism.

      Anyone interested may want to have a look at the content from last month’s Tourism Summit (“The Long View”) on our web site where we talked about progress to date in implementing the plan.

      • Eve says:

        The Bermuda Department of Tourism management failed because they allowed the hoteliers to adopted the attitude what they were providing for guests was “good enough”, the bottom line was more important than the guests. Gone was the ‘guest service’ that Bermuda tourism was built on and hotels that once had a 5 Star rating we’re lucky to get 3 Star. Some of the same former BDOT individuals with same attitude were directly involved with setting up the BTA. BTA needs to go back and study how all the hoteliers, the government and the locals worked as a team to promote tourism, before decline under the BDOT and BTA.

  2. Onion Juice says:

    $1000 a day job.

  3. Question says:

    Down 7.2%. Thanks Zane, well done.

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Spending by Bermuda’s leisure air visitors is up so far this year compared to 2018, the BTA said today [Nov 8], despite fewer air arrivals during the third quarter following flight cancellations caused by Hurricane Humberto and reduced air capacity.”

    So, a bit of a mixed result. Visitor spending is up, which is good. Air arrivals are down, which is bad.

    I do not believe that a 7.2% drop in leisure air visitors is down to hurricanes. It has more to do with reduced capacity and reduced capacity is caused by lack of demand. Commercial markets, such as airlines, are profit driven. If the demand to come to Bermuda existed, air capacity would also exist. Please take note of that Honourable Minister of Tourism.

  5. Mb says:

    Why would anyone want to come here?
    We have nothing to offer but over priced stale
    hotel rooms and nothing to do that’s fun
    Celebrities don’t instagram us and that’s marketing 101 today
    The hotels are of poor quality and way overpriced for
    what you get compared to Caribbean
    The best resort right ON the beach on the
    island is a falling apart stinking property
    inexplicably allowed to continue to sit in
    disrepair and be owned by a Saudi prince who cares nothing for it, and now run not by a legit great hotel brand but by the
    owners of a pizza and pasta chain!!!
    You can do all you want and win awards for
    all the plans on paper u want but you will
    Never succeed without hotels that keep pace with today’s travelers
    Most people – if u look at these stats – are business travelers, with a tiny portion that is Airbnb
    bTA needs go and tourism minister whoever that now is needs to
    PGA… you want talk about a ‘sailboat race’ well
    pGA was a golf game at a dingy golf club – nice grounds – but the event was a tourism and commercial fail …for which only Zane benefitted
    Wake up Bermuda
    Tourism is dying a death

  6. Ringmaster says:

    How many visitors came to watch the PGA Bermuda Championship? Forget TV numbers, how many heads in beds? Watching the coverage I would say very few apart from the participants so what was the financial benefit to Bermuda and those Bermudians who we were told didn’t benefit from the America’s Cup? Did they benefit from the Bermuda Championship?