The coronavirus pandemic has hit the travel industry hard, and the situation in Bermuda was no different, according to new data released by the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Total air visitor arrivals were down by 38 percent in the first quarter, with leisure air visitors down by 43. 5 percent.
Leisure air spending declined by 38 percent, all part of what the Bermuda Tourism Authority called “unprecedented declines.”
“Year over year, air visitor declines of this magnitude are unparalleled in Bermuda’s modern history and they reflect the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on our tourism industry,” said BTA Interim CEO Glenn Jones. “This year’s second quarter is even more worrying, as the return dates of regularly scheduled air and cruise travel to Bermuda remain unknown.”
Bermuda’s seaport and airport stopped receiving regularly-scheduled service after March 20.
But the number of visitors had begun to decline as travelers canceled reservations.
“Heading into 2020, a lack of air capacity was our biggest concern—now, our biggest challenge is getting the tourism economy open again, safely and responsibly,” Jones said.
“Our team is focusing all resources on recovery and every step in the tourism recovery is about jobs. In the hotel industry alone, where the workforce is 70 percent Bermudian, about 2,000 people are out of work. Since late March, we’ve been meeting regularly with the Ministry of Tourism & Transport to figure out how we get all those people back to work—strategizing a safe return for tourism alongside a marketing plan that drives visitation later this year,” he said.