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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Feb 7, CMC – Bermuda welcomed a record 770,683 visitors last year, an 11 per cent rise over 2017, tourism officials said.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) said the 203,697 holiday-makers who arrived by air was the highest number in 16 years.
The numbers swelled by a 16 per cent surge in cruise ship arrivals.
Officials said efforts would be made to narrow the gap between the respective numbers by creating a better balance between cruise and air passengers over the next five years as set out in the National Tourism Plan.
The head of the BTA , quango set up by the then ruling One Bermuda Alliance government in 2013, championed the “real men and women” of Bermuda’s hospitality industry for making the feat possible.
Kevin Dallas, the BTA’s chief executive, said Bermuda’s tourism industry “is on a sustained path of recovery”.
He added that a “totally fresh approach” to tourism was put together by the BTA in 2014 and 2015 which was bolstered by stakeholders who “believed in our vision and helped build on the new foundation”.
Unveiling the 2018 figures on Wednesday, Dallas said: “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.”
Dallas said the employment of Bermudians in the hotel industry had grown by 23 per cent between 2016 and 2018, “according to the government’s most recent quarterly statistics bulletin”.
Dallas described the past three years as the “first chapter” in Bermuda’s tourism comeback story.
But he said there was still a “long way yet to go”.
Before the BTA was set up six years ago Bermuda’s tourism industry had long been in the doldrums.