Bermuda's 2020 tourism numbers reflect the havoc the pandemic wrecked upon the destination, with leisure air visitors down by 86.4 percent compared to 2019, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said.
In all, cruise visitor numbers were down 98.3 percent leisure visitor spending was down by 88.7 percent, total air visitors by 84.4 percent and airline seats by 70.6 percent.
"The crisis that beset our tourism industry was prolonged and decimating, and as predicted, the recovery is slow and gradual," said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. "Our organization is motivated to find green shoots within the industry and leverage those opportunities to accelerate the destination's recovery in 2021."
Relatively speaking, there were some bright spots in the summer and fall of 2020, with 26 percent of leisure visitor volume returning by October, up from 5 percent in July, 10 percent in August and 16 percent in September.
Additionally, U.K. visitors proved a lifesaver of sorts, with leisure air arrivals down by 71 percent versus the overall 86.6 percent. "Like all air visitors in 2020, British visitors stayed longer than is typical," the tourism authority said. "On average, leisure visitors from all countries stayed three days longer than they did in 2019 -about eight days as opposed to five."
The government also enacted stringent COVID-19 testing procedures and endorsements from the World Tourism & Travel Council, which it said attributed to arrivals increases in the second half of 2020.
In October, the PGA TOUR's Bermuda Championship was the first golf tour to host live spectators since the onset of the pandemic,
Bermuda also played host to sailing's Bermuda Gold Cup and World Match Racing Tour and rugby's World Tens Series.
Additionally, 46 superyachts visited Bermuda last year, ushering in the country's first superyacht charter guests - a benefit of January's newly enacted legislation and a tangible area of growth for Bermuda going forward," the tourism authority said.
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