Tourism Minister Patrice Minors says the island has ‘held steady’ this summer. *File photo
Tourism Minister Patrice Minors says the island has ‘held steady’ this summer. *File photo

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9: Ambitious plans to boost air visitor arrivals and increase tourist spending have been unveiled by Government.

Tourism Minister Patrice Minors last night told a room full of the island’s key hospitality players that her department would leave “no stone unturned” in helping Bermuda succeed as an international destination.

Service

She said the island had “held steady” over the summer while other Caribbean islands had seen business drop off.

The Minister told the annual Industry Night at the Fairmont Southampton Resort she had seen an improved spirit of co-operation in the tourism industry.

A promotional video shown to the guests revealed new targets for air arrivals, hotel rooms and tourist spending.

The priorities were outlined as increasing air visitor arrivals to 300,000 over the next three years, boosting spending per person by 10 per cent and increasing the number of hotel rooms by 20 per cent by 2013.

Ms Minors said: “We have seen a tangible improvement in the communication between our public and private sector. Bermuda’s name was once synonymous with service, and somehow we lost sight of that over the years.

“As the financial industry grew here in Bermuda, it became more and more difficult to convince young people about the value of tourism and of having a service-first mentality.

“I believe that is changing and if we are to succeed it will be through rebuilding our industry from the ground up, starting with a motivated and caring young workforce who will appreciate both the economic and social benefits to serving in the tourism industry.”

Ms Minors said she hoped the new seasonal service from Atlanta and Baltimore would become a year-round fixture.

She added: “Our summer numbers were helped by strong group business and this is an area upon which we will continue to build.

“Bermuda’s proximity to major US cities, as well as our strong infrastructure, and amenities such as golf, make our destination particularly desirable for the group and incentive market.

“We also saw the launch of new seasonal air service from Atlanta and Baltimore through AirTran Airways.

“It is our hope that we can build on this first season partnership upon its completion in October and help it to eventually become a year-round offering.”

Ms Minors outlined a series of upcoming initiatives for 2012 to boost the tourism industry. She said: “The Department is looking to develop a Restaurant Week from January 16 to 23 and also expand on the festivities of the successful Feel the Love Month from January 23 to March 3.

“College Weeks Reunion is confirmed for March 15 - 18, 2012, targeting a mature audience who remember the good old days back in the Sixties and Seventies, and who would enjoy a visit back to Bermuda and a reunion with old friends.”