The new Tourism Authority Board was unveiled on Thursday. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
The new Tourism Authority Board was unveiled on Thursday. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

The African American market will be one of the Tourism Authority’s focuses as it looks to rejuvenate the industry.

Yesterday the Authority’s eight strong board of directors that have been tasked with rebuilding tourism was unveiled.

The announcement of the board, which consists of six locals and two overseas directors, was hailed as a ‘watershed’ and the ‘beginning of a new era’ by Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell.

The five new local directors are Island Restaurant boss, Phil Barnett, Rosewood Tuckers Point manager, Paul Telford, economics expert Peter Everson, ACE’s COO Allison Towlson, and Deloitte’s director of consulting services, Jessica Mello.

David Dodwell will continue as chairman of the Authority.

Overseas

While one of the new overseas directors, Earl G. Graves Jr, told the Bermuda Sun the island had huge potential to attract the African American market that had yet to be tapped into.

The president and CEO of the US-based BLACK ENTERPRISE, said: “I’m fully involved in marketing and advertising to tourism for African Americans in the US.

“I’ve been doing this for 25 years and I know the African American market well.

“I also happen to love Bermuda and have visited several times.

“To me this is a great opportunity to get on the ground and do more to market and advertise towards this section of the population who have not really viewed Bermuda as a destination before.

“It will be interesting to see how aggressively Bermuda is going to try and attract people in the Northeast of the US.

“There is potential to promote more golf and the immediacy of the location to the market I deal with. I think we can do a better job.”

Great location

While Allison Reid, the second overseas director and senior vice president of Real Estate of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, added: “We have links with Bermuda already through our auditors Ernst and Young.

“Bermuda is a great location for Starwood where our customers want to be.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to have both private and public come together and grow the tourism business.

“I have been struck already by the people involved wanting to do the right thing for the country and having a passion for it.

“I would not be involved in this if I did not think the other people involved were passionate about it.”

The Authority’s CEO is set to be appointed in January. While the transition to a fully autonomous Tourism Authority will be fully completed by April 1, 2014.