Senator: ‘Staying Competitive In Tourism’

November 23, 2011

Bermuda’s attendance at global travel exposition in London this month underscored how much work the island has to do to remain competitive in an increasingly cut-throat market, the new Junior Tourism Minister told the Senate today [Nov.23].

Senator Vincent Ingham said Bermuda’s delegation to the World Travel Market Exhibition — led by Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert and including representatives from hotels including Cambridge Beaches, Fairmont Southampton and Fairmont Hamilton, Grotto Bay, Elbow Beach and the Reefs Hotel — stood out at an event which drew more than 5000 exhibitors, drawing favourable media coverage for the island.

“[But] ultimately, the Ministry’s week in the UK has demonstrated that we must all pull together as one to ensure our beautiful island remains at the forefront of people’s minds in this highly competitive marketplace,” said Sen. Ingham.

“With the global recession still entrenched, Bermuda’s offer must, more than ever, be compelling and showcase new reasons to visit Bermuda as well as highlight the heritage and cultural links we have with Britain.

“The Ministry must continue to position the diversity of this island all year round whether that’s enjoying a round of golf, relaxing in a world-class spa or exploring coastal ship wrecks — Bermuda has a prime time opportunity to illustrate its unparalleled qualities.”

Sen. Ingham’s Statement Appears In Full Below:

During the week of November 7, the Minister of Business Development and Tourism had the pleasure of travelling to London for the annual World Travel Market Exhibition to reawaken the UK’s consumer and trade love affair with Bermuda. This event was held at the Excel Centre in the Docklands area of London. Bermuda’s presence did not go un-noticed with the Bermuda team’s “pink” aura — or rather their pink shorts — attracting TV crews, photographers, journalists, trade partners and visitors from around the world. Delegates came in their hundreds to the stand to engage with the Bermuda team and find out more about what our beautiful island has to offer.

To those of you who are not familiar, the World Travel Market Exhibition attracts over 26,000 global businessmen and women in the travel industry and this year the attendance was up by 8 per cent. In total there are over 5,000 exhibitors from around the world, including Bermuda. The aim being to make the most of this opportunity by influencing the hearts and minds of those who can help the Department of Tourism drive new tourism business from this market to Bermuda in 2012.

On the stand were the leaders from six influential hotels: Cambridge Beaches, Fairmont Southampton and Fairmont Hamilton, Grotto Bay, Elbow Beach and the Reefs Hotel and Club. These representatives played a key role in driving enquiries into what is new and exciting about the destination. Over the three days the Bermuda team had a fully packed itinerary that witnessed over 90 face-to-face briefings across media, bloggers, tour operators, travel agents and airline industry partners.

Bermuda really stood out, amongst this competitive arena, the Bermuda team was pleased to welcome Miss Bermuda, Jana Outerbridge, and a Gombey Dancer to shake things up. They brought the destination to life and helped create an unforgettable backdrop to many broadcast and photographic opportunities, as well as handing out literature and marketing collateral to visually engage visitors.

As the newly appointed Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Wayne L. Furbert has some very clear ambitions to drive visitation to Bermuda in 2012. The Ministry aims to continue building strong relationship with key trade partners and tour operators alike and will continue to ensure that the island’s economy benefits from global efforts to promote and support existing events that will ultimately increase visitation to our shores. The Department of Tourism’s newly appointed publicity team and trade representation in the UK have hit the ground running to ensure that Bermuda is being seen as an aspirational holiday destination by all the right people, at the right time, in the right places.

Showcasing Bermuda as an accessible yet aspirational destination was undoubtedly one of the Ministry’s keen aims during the time in the UK. An unforgettable highlight of the week was the appreciation dinner hosted at the Plateau Restaurant in Canary Wharf. Transported by a traditional British red double decker bus guests were invited on board to enjoy an evening of good company at a restaurant renowned for its breathtaking views across this thriving financial quarter of London.

To the surprise and delight of the Ministry’s evening guests, within hours of landing in London, our very own Minister of Business Development and Tourism was serenading the audience, backed by Bermuda’s band Tempo, by beginning his address with the opening versus of “Bermuda Is Another World” and sharing one of his greatest passions, singing, with the guests! Over 25 travel bloggers who were in attendance on the night instantly began tweeting and recording his performance for their captive audience and within 24 hours it had reached an audience of over 130,000.

The Appreciation Dinner offered the Bermuda team the chance to recognise some of its key partners with awards for their continual support. Winners on the evening included tour operators Purely Bermuda and British Airways Holidays who were both awarded ‘Excellence in Partnership’ Awards.

Adventures in Radio took the prize of Outstanding Partnership for their broadcast promotion that took place earlier this year. The Department of Tourism’s collaboration brought together several radio stations who broadcast remotely from Bermuda to the UK, touching over four million listeners. It is this type of teamwork that the island needs to build on for 2012 to see Bermuda continues to rise as a top partner destination.

Ultimately, the Ministry’s week in the UK has demonstrated that we must all pull together as one to ensure our beautiful island remains at the forefront of people’s minds in this highly competitive marketplace. With the global recession still entrenched, Bermuda’s offer must, more than ever, be compelling and showcase new reasons to visit Bermuda as well as highlight the heritage and cultural links we have with Britain. The Ministry must continue to position the diversity of this island all year round whether that’s enjoying a round of golf, relaxing in a world-class spa or exploring coastal ship wrecks — Bermuda has a prime time opportunity to illustrate its unparalleled qualities. To further enhance the opportunity, moving into 2012 the Ministry will be working closely with its New York, Boston and Philadelphia partners to maximise the opportunity for UK travellers to literally “shop and flop” in Bermuda with twin center agreements.

Thank You! Madam President.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Shaking the Head says:

    I’m sorry, but the PLP have been in power now for 13 years. It appears that they have just won an election. They are clearly totally out of their depth and clueless. Time for people who know what they are doing and doing it now.

    • Yup says:

      Until PLP introduce ledgislation to set-up a Tourism Authority, the PLP will never get my vote. And I doubt PLP will ever set-up a Tourism Authority. They have no idea what it’s all about and why it is good for Bermuda. PLP is for PLP and they will never change.

  2. Rick Rock says:

    Let’s face it, they have no clue at all what to do. The last tourism minister spent a whole year making promises then admitted she no idea, and announced she wanted to spend $1m on a foreign consultant to write a tourism plan some time in 2012.

    Then three months after that she was replaced by the ex-UBP leader.

    And now Ingham is talking about the “heritage and cultural links with Britain”. It would actually make sense to play up the British heritage and culture, from a tourism standpoint. Americans love that type of thing. But the PLP have spent the past 13 years trying to disavow any British connection. Even the tourism people wear black undertaker suits to tourism events. Not a pair of Bermuda Shorts in sight. “Too Colonial” I guess.

    They are like headless chickens.

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    An event in my life which will never be forgotten was one February some years ago doing a tourism trade show in Boston.

    This was not just a Bermuda show. It was a world show in a huge auditorium. Must have been hundreds of booths. Bermuda had a big one.

    My attire was the blazer, tie, pink shorts, the knee socks & docksiders. Best advertising one could wear. Instantly recognisable & generated knowing comments whenever I took a break to walk around.

    The Americans love what is different about us, including the Britishness that we used to have like the Bobby helments which are no longer worn by the police.

    The PLP have no clue of what to do. The last thing they want is an assiociation with England, even if it is profitable for us. Sorry, accept it or not but things like the Diaspora Trail, wherever that is, is of not interest to American visitors, nor is the Bermuda culture, whatever that is.

    I spent 18 years talking to them one on one for hours at a time. i think I got a pretty good idea of what is important to them.

  4. Timothy Hickey says:

    As an American tourist that has been to your once wonderful Island MANY times (though mostly on cruises), I agree with the mentioned intentions of other posters to this report. My example was back in the late 1990′s when we arrived in St. Georges aboard the Norwegian Cruise Lines “Dreamward”. When passing through the channel, there was an apartment building where people were on their balcony yelling “Welcome To Bermuda” at us. Then we arrived at the port where their was a traditional “Town Cryer” on the dock that announced the ships arrival and welcomed us and he was dressed in traditional colonial garb. WE LOVED THAT. Made us feel so welcomed. I also remember another time when we docked in Kings Warf and had rented scooters to travel the Island and went to Hamilton. Amazing how so many Islanders were waving at us along the way. My thought is the newer generation of Islanders are not as accepting of tourists. And that is so sad seeing that you DO have SUCH a wonderful Island. I truly hope things do change back to the old ways on the Island. May god continue to bless all the people of Bermuda.