Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury *File photo
Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury *File photo

Making Bermuda a year-round destination has to be a top priority to reinvigorate the tourism industry.

This from Bill Hanbury as he outlined the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s plan of attack to swell air arrivals.

The BTA’s CEO was speaking yesterday at a breakfast presentation  in which he unveiled the authority’s ‘Seven New Habits’ strategy to attract more visitors to the island.

Mr Hanbury said that the target market would remain the northeast of the US, Canada and then the UK.

He added: “We do not believe we need to go to the Middle East and China to be successful.

Success

“Maybe in the second round of success we can look there.

“But for the moment our focus remains America, Canada, then the UK, and finally Europe.

“There are plenty of folks there that will make us successful.”

Mr Hanbury revealed there would be a ‘renewed emphasis’ on golf as well as a move to promote marathons, triathlons and cycling in a bid to breathe fresh life into the tourism product.

And he told the gathering the BTA was keen to highlight the island’s mild winters as well as its British and Caribbean links to attract more visitors.

The BTA’s boss also called on restaurants to embrace Bermudian cuisine to satisfy holidaymakers wishes.

He said: “Some of our best restaurants have forgotten about our best Bermudian cuisine.

“This is what visitors want in the shape of an original and authentic experience.”

Mr Hanbury added: “This is very much the start of the process.

“We are working very, very hard and we have a dedicated team.

“We realize we have serious challenges to overcome.

“We will improve the product, investment and training for our valued employees in hospitality.

“But this will not happen overnight; we have been in decline for over 30 years so to reverse that is a heavy lift.

“I am firmly convinced we can have a drastic impact on the island’s economy and most importantly put people back to work.”

Tourism boss Hanbury also voiced his opinion about The America’s Cup, United Airlines cutting back its schedule from Newark and Politics. 

The America’s Cup: “We are so excited about the America’s Cup. We are absolutely down to the short stakes now and we are still confident that we have a good opportunity to host this event.”

United Airlines’ decision to suspend its winter schedule: “We were not happy about United’s decision. We spent time in Chicago and tried to get them to change their mind. But at the end of the day their mind had been made up. So there is work to do there.”

Politics: “The Bermuda Tourism Authority does not want to be politicized. This is a team that can get the job done but we need the breathing space to do it. We are not a political football that you throw around. When people are talking about my salary or how much we are spending, these are just diversions from the fact we all need to get in the boat.”