Bermuda Preparing for Hotel Inventory and Flight Increases

Bermuda tourism stakeholders expect hotel inventory and commercial airline flights to increase significantly this month as government officials chart a post-COVID path to recovery for the territory’s tourism industry.

Bermuda’s available hotel inventory will increase from 420 rooms in August, representing 18 percent of the territory’s total rooms, to 1,983 rooms (84 percent) by September 1, said Glenn Jones, the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] interim CEO, in a report.

Territorial hotel inventory increases are tied to resuming airline flight schedules. Commercial air service to the territory is expected to grow from 10 percent of “regular” capacity in July to 20 percent this month, Jones said.

The country’s successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic within its borders has positioned the country to resume tourism activity, Jones said, albeit with new policies and tourism promotion programs in place.

“The gradual pathway for our tourism recovery remains grueling, but the next four weeks will be the litmus test for building meaningful momentum,” Jones said. As of August 7, Bermuda reported 157 COVID-19 cases, with only four active cases.

“The public-health performance in Bermuda should be a source of pride,” said Jones. “Because the tourism industry reopened safely and responsibly, [BTA] was able to implement an ‘inside-out’ destination marketing strategy.”

The plan hinges on marketing to “visitors who make the trip” and to residents forced to cancel planned abroad due to the pandemic. As part of the effort, BTA has sponsored events including a Golf Week, and scheduled upcoming promotions designed to inspire “staycations, yacht and boat rentals, and alfresco dining,” said Jones.

BTA also worked closely with government and tourism stakeholders to publicize the Work from Bermuda certificate. Jones said travelers participating in the program represent “a hybrid of visitor and resident, very likely to spend into our tourism economy” despite not utilizing a hotel or traditional vacation rental.

Other new initiatives under Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan include cashless payment opportunities “across the tourism eco-system,” establishing a digital border-entry process, marketing more aggressively to Black travelers in key markets, attracting superyacht and private marine vessel owners and devising workforce-development programs to “invite more Bermudians into the tourism economy.”

The territory re-opened its borders to international travelers on July 1, albeit with new COVID-19 protocols in place. Bermuda travelers must complete an online travel authorization form within 48 hours of departure; a $75 per-traveler fee is required and includes the cost of COVID-19 testing in Bermuda.

Additionally, visitors age 10 and up must take a PCR COVID-19 test and obtain a negative result within 72 hours, but no more than seven days, before departure. Test results must be entered as part of the online travel authorization process and be presented upon arrival. Visitors without a pre-departure test will not be permitted to enter Bermuda.

Upon arrival at Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport, travelers will be required to undergo PCR COVID-19 testing. Travelers with a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 test will quarantine at their accommodation until results are ready, with turn-around time approximately 24 hours.

Travelers who become COVID-19 positive, are in close contact with a positive person, are symptomatic or are clinically diagnosed at any point will be subject to COVID-19 regulations and will be quarantined or isolated at their accommodation for up to 14 days. Bermuda visitors are required to wear face masks when traveling to their departure airport and practice physical distancing at the airport.

Visitors are also advised to acquire health insurance covering illness and injury beyond their home jurisdictions, including illness related to a COVID-19 diagnosis while in Bermuda. Travelers without health insurance will be responsible for health and accommodation costs connected to treatment and/or quarantine, including costs related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in Bermuda.

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