HAMILTON, Bermuda – Bermuda’s tourism officials have been heartened by a gradual recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic slump in the island’s vital economic sector with new figures released by the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) for the first quarter of 2022 showing a modest increase.
“Bermuda’s tourism product continues to feel the impact faced by the world since 2020. In spite of the economic challenges across industries, tourism’s key indicators are moving upwards. In the short term, there is cautious optimism for accelerated growth in Q2 (second quarter),” said Tourism Minister Vance Campbell.
Compared with pre-pandemic levels, leisure air visitor arrivals were down 70 percent to 7,172, but this amounted to a rise of 314 percent against 2021 figures.
Bermuda’s air capacity fell by 44 percent when set against 2019 levels. However, it was up by 112 percent when measured against last year. There were no cruise ship arrivals in the first quarter.
The BTA said that despite reduced air capacity and challenges with visitor arrivals and hotel capacity, the upturn represented a “glimmer of hope” for the industry.
“The sector is gradually moving in the right direction, yet reduced hotel inventory and airlift remain a limiting factor,” it added.
Spending by air visitors in the first three months of the year came to US$21.6 million, which is a decline of more than half, 55 percent, on 2019’s $48 million figure. But, this was 91.5 percent up on the same period last year.
The spend per air visitor in the first quarter climbed 40 percent for business and leisure categories. Spending per visitor for the leisure air category increased from US$1,326 to US$1,971, and the length of stay has gone up over pre-pandemic levels with holidaymakers staying on average 6.68 days, or 21.7 percent longer than in 2019.
“Our tourism sector recovery is under way with tactical marketing and outreach activities geared to ensure our industry stakeholders benefit from renewed interest, more leisure and group business, and increased visitor expenditure over the coming months,” said BTA chief executive Charles Jeffers II.
He said second-quarter projections look strong with key international events and growing group business in place to support the goal of boosting our year-round visitor numbers.”