Bermuda Tourism Authority Reports Continued Growth in Visitor Numbers for Q1
Bermuda Tourism Authority announced today that the latest tourism figures indicate continued recovery in the industry. Leisure air arrivals up 88.1% compared to 2022. Canada's year-over-year visitation saw an increase of 296%. With the removal of their COVID-19 entry protocols, ease of travel allowed the BTA to reengage this market through targeted PR and media efforts. The BTA's persistent efforts in the UK have also seen success, with leisure visitors exceeding 2019 levels. Cruise visitation to the island has returned, surpassing 2019 levels with arrivals in Q1 of 22,784. Air visitor spending decreased per person due to shorter stays (7.22 days vs 9.03 in 2022), but total visitor spending increased by 67.6% compared to 2022. Hotel occupancy has also improved, rising 16.9 percentage points from 28.7% in Q1 2022 to 45.6% in Q1 2023. Additionally, 25 yacht arrivals were recorded in Q1, with two being superyachts, resulting in an estimated economic impact of $1.72M, up 164% from Q1 2022.
In a statement, CEO Tracy Berkeley said, "We're delighted to see the incremental growth in our Q1 tourism numbers, which is a testament to the island's ongoing recovery, and the organisation’s sales and marketing efforts. While there is still work to be done, we are confident that our continued focus on raising awareness of the destination will ensure that Bermuda becomes a top consideration for future travellers."
The BTA continues to expand their reach into focus markets. Through forging new media and content partnerships, the organisation has reached broader audiences with a higher travel intent for the island. Bermuda's offerings are set to capture the attention of a captive audience thanks to ongoing innovative advertising initiatives. The Digital Roadblock, positioned en route to the Hamptons, provides an opportunity to showcase Bermuda's unique offerings to a highly engaged audience during traffic delays. Additionally, the BTA's Moynihan train station takeover provided a captivating, full-screen view of Bermuda in vivid colour, ensuring that it will be remembered by the 250k daily passengers that witness it. Both initiatives are set to drive increased interest in Bermuda's offerings among a highly engaged audience.
On May 5th, 2023, several journalists and content creators were secured to experience the new service to support the JetBlue flight launch from New York LaGuardia Airport. These efforts resulted in highly engaged social media posts and guaranteed article placement across numerous publications. All centred around highlighting Bermuda's robust leisure offerings. With the return of JetBlue's Boston to Bermuda route, both flights add capacity from the east coast, giving visitors more options to get to Bermuda.
BTA's Experiences calendar has shown to be a significant drawcard, attracting target personas and ensuring events are always well attended. This year the BTA curated a new event, the inaugural Celebrity Golf Invitational, which brought together Hollywood actors and sports legends, including actor Anthony Anderson and retired professional athletes Terrell Owens, Byron Scott, Warren Sapp and Anthony 'Spud' Webb. April 30th marked the successful conclusion of Black Golfers Week, an event designed to spotlight talent while highlighting the need for more inclusion within the sport.
The Sales and Business Development team have worked hard to increase face-to-face engagements with clients and prospects, building stronger relationships and generating more business. Finally, partnerships amongst critical stakeholders have been instrumental in Bermuda tourism's success. With all involved understanding the objectives identified, clear strategies have been agreed upon to increase the industry's economic impact.
The island's tourism partners' continued investment also contributes to Bermuda's success. As Cambridge Beaches celebrates its 100th year, its recent renovation was touted on Travel + Leisure's 'It List', which adds to the accolades hotels and resorts receive, keeping Bermuda front and centre with discerning travellers.
"The recovery of tourism and growing tourism's contribution to the economy continues to be the BTA's top priority. We are encouraged by the increased air capacity this Spring and Summer and look forward to a return of Bermuda's hotel capacity to pre-pandemic levels. While Q1 saw 62% of 2019's air capacity, air visitor numbers rebounded to 64%. We expect to see greater growth in Q2 as airline schedules increase further," said Chief Operations Officer Erin Smith.
About Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA)
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an award-winning, accredited destination marketing organisation that promotes Bermuda internationally and works to empower our tourism industry stakeholders. For more information visit: www.gotobermuda.com/bta