Bermuda’s Official Travel Resource

Third Straight Year of Growth for Bermuda’s Tourism Industry

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

It’s a three-peat for Bermuda. Year-end visitor arrival statistics for 2018 confirm three straight years of economic comeback and uninterrupted growth for the island’s tourism trade, according to a report out today from the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

In addition to the growth trend, last year’s performance was historically significant in many areas:

  • Record-breaking number of total vacationers for second consecutive year
  • Highest number of leisure air arrivals since 2002
  • Total visitor spending into Bermuda’s economy climbs past $500 million
  • Cruise passenger arrivals jumped 34 percent during non-summer months

Back-to-back record-breaking years mean Bermuda’s streak of tourism growth is now 12 quarters long – dating back to January 2016.  Over that time period, key performance indicators are up sharply:

  • At December 31, 2018, leisure air visitor spending was up 67 percent compared to 2015 year-end
  • At December 31, 2018, leisure air visitor arrivals were up 46 percent compared to 2015 year-end

“By every imaginable definition, Bermuda’s tourism industry is on a sustained path of recovery,” said Kevin Dallas, Bermuda Tourism Authority’s chief executive. “Our team put together a totally fresh tourism approach in 2014 and 2015. Stakeholders believed in our vision and helped build on the new foundation. That two-step process is the reason the country’s tourism has progressed so impressively.

“These stellar results represent real men and women in Bermuda’s hospitality industry who have seen positive impacts on their lives – whether they own a small business or call someone else the boss.”

In 2018, total visitor arrivals surged to 770,683, an 11 percent increase over the previous year and a new record for Bermuda.  Air leisure arrivals finished up 12 percent year-over-year and spending from this audience jumped 11 percent. The 203,697 vacationers to arrive by air in 2018 is the best performance in this category in 16 years. Back in 2002, 218,248 visitors flew to the island for leisure travel.

Leisure Air Visitors by Year

2002

2016

2017

2018

2017 v 2018

#CHG

2017 v 2018

%CHG

Leisure Air Visitors

218,248

164,321

182,439

203,697

21,258

11.7%

The steadily rising number of leisure travellers is driving greater direct spending into the local economy. With air visitors up 12 percent and cruise visitors higher by 16 percent in 2018, total leisure visitor spending surged 28 percent year-over-year. Per person leisure spending fell slightly for air visitors in 2018 – not unexpected in the wake of America’s Cup – but because the amount of these travellers was sharply higher, total spending grew.

Hotel occupancy and the amount of airline seats flying to Bermuda in 2018 also grew for the year, but only modestly, coming in relatively flat.  This trend could be a drag on near term growth.

Mr Dallas said: “The past three years is just the first chapter of Bermuda’s comeback story. There is a long way yet to go. Bermuda can get there though, with a continued spirit of collaboration and using the National Tourism Plan like a North Star to navigate our path to success.”