Storms affect Bermuda’s tourism figures

Tourism officials are reporting that storms and fewer airline seats hit Bermuda’s arrival figures in the third quarter of the year.

The damage left in Bermuda after Hurricane Humberto hit the island.
The damage left in Bermuda after Hurricane Humberto hit the island.

Leisure air arrivals were down 7.2 per cent and air capacity off by 4.8 per cent, as visitors from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom were all down. However, cruise ship business was up by 13.4 per cent.

Bermuda took a battering from Hurricane Humberto, a Category 3 storm, on September 18, and suffered a near miss from Tropical Storm Jerry a few days later, forcing tourists to stay away from the island.

Spending more

But tourists have been spending more this year and the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) said 2019 was forecast to be the second-best year – after 2018 – for leisure air arrivals since 2006.

“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,” BTA chief executive, Kevin Dallas, said.

“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.

“Both Humberto and Jerry were back-to-back factors that reduced the number of visitors able to travel to Bermuda.”

— BTA chief executive, Kevin Dallas

“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.”

Leisure air arrivals

The BTA figures showed that leisure air arrivals were down 7.2 per cent to 69,714 in the third quarter, 5,371 people fewer than the 75,085 recorded in the same period in 2018.

By this time last year, Bermuda had welcomed 168,005 holidaymakers and leisure visitors by air, compared with 157,977 so far in 2019 — 10,028 fewer people.

Cruise arrivals for the first nine months totalled 447,006, a 14.2 per cent increase over last year’s corresponding period.

In all, this year’s 604,983 visitors to date represent an overall 8.2 per cent increase over last year.