For the third successive year, Bermuda had a record visitor arrival as its numbers surpassed 808 thousand.
The milestone was not without its downside as air arrivals for the year declined six per cent, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA).
Some 808,242 people visited the island in 2019, who spent a combined US$417.5 million, an increase of 1.6 per cent over the prior year.
“Maintaining our strongest air routes and building on already established relationships with key airlines will be critical to our success.”– Chief executive officer of the BTA, Kevin Dallas
The overall visitor arrivals increased 4.9 per cent with most of that coming from cruise ship passengers. Notably, their greatest growth came during non-summer months as off-season arrivals increased 15 per cent, the Authority said. Growth for the popular summer months stood at five per cent.
The decline in air arrivals comes after the country established a new peak of 203,697 in 2018, compared to the 191,417 recorded last year.
A five per cent falloff in air capacity, due to two airlines cutting flights from New York to the island, as well as reduced flight schedules from Boston.
Chief executive officer of the BTA, Kevin Dallas, said the decline in air arrivals was expected but that “long-view gains were more robust than anticipated.”
Additionally, Dallas said, “Sustained double-digit growth in air arrivals and spending through 2018 positioned us well to respond to short-term challenges and we continue to see green shoots fuelling the island’s tourism resurgence,” adding that “Investors, for example, are showing clear confidence in our tourism product, which is moving the island strategically towards growth.”
“Global competition remains fierce…Maintaining our strongest air routes and building on already established relationships with key airlines will be critical to our success.”