400 Travel Agents To Arrive On Cruise Ship

September 15, 2014

[Updated with video] The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] and tourism industry stakeholders have teamed up to showcase the island to the world’s largest association of travel professionals, with hundreds of travel agents set to arrive in Bermuda via cruise ship this week.

About 400 members of the American Society of Travel Agents [ASTA] and their guests are en route from New York City, arriving Wednesday on the Norwegian Breakaway for a three-day stay on the island.

“We’ve rallied together more than 50 industry stakeholders to offer our trademark Bermudian hospitality with a united front,” said Bill Hanbury, BTA Chief Executive Officer. “Now we’re asking all of Bermuda to chip in with the warm welcome it is famous for. We want to make a lasting impression on this important group of influencers.”


The travel professionals will visit hotel properties on Wednesday and Thursday and are invited to try their hands at golf and tennis as well.

The highlight is the Taste of Bermuda – an open-air trade show on Wednesday evening in the Victualling Yard at Dockyard, featuring about 40 tourism industry stakeholders in retail, attractions and excursions. The evening’s events will also include live entertainment and food sampling.

“We want these influencers to experience as much of Bermuda as possible in three days, while still allowing enough time to explore the island on their own,” said Alastair Jack, BTA Hotel Liaison. “The Taste of Bermuda works perfectly because by attending this event, ASTA will get a true flavor of all the appealing things our island has to offer.”

Additionally, dozens of tourism-related business are offering incentives and discounts to lure travel professionals to their storefronts this week.

Mr. Hanbury said: “At the BTA office this week it’s all hands on deck. We have our people assigned to help with logistics and a few members from our New York team are on the Breakaway to begin the process of educating this audience of influencers on everything Bermuda has to offer.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our industry partners and we hope Bermuda can also stand with us as we all roll out our signature pink carpet of hospitality.”

List of Participating Tourism Industry Partners

  • Coconut Rockets
  • Fourways Inn
  • Edgehill Manor
  • Blue Halo
  • Bermuda Golf Academy
  • Carole Holding
  • Blue Water Divers
  • Oyster Point Yacht Charters
  • Lili Bermuda
  • Gar Transport
  • Rosewood Tucker’s Point
  • Port Royal Golf Course
  • Elbow Beach Resort
  • Bermuda Art Centre at Dockyard
  • Bermuda Connections Accommodations
  • Pompano Beach Resort
  • Weddings with Panache
  • Bermuda Marathon Weekend
  • Swizzle Inn
  • BUEI
  • Bermuda Heritage Partnership
  • TBI
  • Brown & Co.
  • Cambridge Beaches
  • Newstead
  • Oxford House
  • Fairmont Southampton
  • Valley Cottages & Apartments
  • Hidden Gems
  • DolphinQuest
  • City of Hamilton
  • Grotto Bay Resort
  • Alexandra Mosher Studio
  • Bermuda Golf Alliance
  • Crystal Caves
  • Travelers Price Card
  • Bermuda Explorer
  • To Have and To Hold
  • Royal Palms
  • St. George’s Club
  • Barritt’s
  • Clearview
  • Masterworks
  • Horton’s Rum Cakes
  • Rosemont
  • The Reefs
  • Island Shop
  • Bermuda Island Tours & More
  • Bonefish
  • Rosedon
  • Calico Jack’s
  • Island Restaurant Group

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Comments (47)

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  1. Rick Olson says:

    The ships are our COMPETITION and are all ready FULL every week and always wiil be because the cruise lines are masters at maximizing profits and attracting business. I am all for entertaining agents and key individuals that sell Bermuda but in our HOTELS and partnering with the airlines.
    Maybe I am missing something or this is just plain stupid?

    • Keith says:

      It would be a huge cost to bring travel agents down on airplanes. This was the most inexpensive way to do it. Also note the agents just don’t sell cruise visits. They sell air.

      Way to Go BTA!!

      • Raymond Ray says:

        Thanks Keith, for explaining to Rick…They’re coming to see what we, (Bermuda) has to offer and then, sell it to their clients.
        What we need is airlines aboard this, “new and improved lure”. For tourist wanting to come here we need hotels / guesthouses even transportation included, and all inclusive package deal at a reasonable price!

    • Take a BREAK says:

      Do you not recognize they said coming VIA Cruiseline! People like you are so dam annoying to jump at any and every opportunity to say something. These are 400 industry professionals. TRAVEL AGENTS …do you still remember what they are because they sell a destination, attractions and ultimately an experience. STOP BEING SO DAM NEGATIVE AND PESSEMISTIC. THIS IS OPPORTUNITY!!!! And the BTA is asking that we play a part! Stop the dam negativity. Maybe you should focus on providing a better environment for your employees because by the sounds of it they are all miserable which is not a good look when they are serving and interacting with our tourists and having a major impact on their experiences here. Understand that this will be one avenue on increasing the exposure of our island as there are still people on the East Coast that have no idea we exist. In the long run it will most definitely play a huge part in our hotel occupancy.

      • Rick Olson says:

        My good employee’s are very happy and very well paid and I do my best to pawn off the non performers to give eager Bermudians a chance.

  2. Meeeee says:

    Doing what was done by the old TDB then what the old Tourism Board did then what the Department of Tourism did.

    But now the ‘new’ BTA is getting Travel Agents to board a Cruise ship, cruise down to Bermudan and then go back home and sell Bermuda as a land destination.

    It seems that the ‘new’ BTA is using the Cruise line to sell the very thing that the Cruise line is competing against, and I might add, competing so successfully that, as I’ve read elsewhere, Bermuda has now become a Cruise Destination; and Bermuda has been a Cruise Destination for about the past ten years.

    So is the ‘new’ BTA flogging Bermuda as a Cruise destination? Or is the ‘new’ BTA trying to sell Bermuda as a Land Destination?

    This antic, I think that the best description, with travel agents seems so completely at odds with Bermuda’s need to re-build itself as a Land Destination.

    Tons of pictures and press releases and smiling faces can often obscure reality. But in the end, the dollars and the numbers will tell. And that won’t take very long.

    This is a pointless exercise.

    • Ace girl says:

      What Mr Olsen and the other commentators are saying is correct. This is an ASTA initiative not a BTA initiative. In fact I am not quite sure if there have been any BTA initiatives, but I stand to be corrected. These agents are having a ‘freebie’ experience on a cruise ship, thus the cruise ship becomes the DESTINATION! They will sell a cruise experience not necessarily Bermuda. It appears the new BTA have a tendency to take glory from other providers initiatives.

      • Dear Ace girl;
        I am afraid it will be hard and time consuming to explain the may aspects of our visit.
        Trying to answer in a simple way;
        1- BTA worked very hard for weeks and months for this event. Perfect or Not They did work hard to promote the Island
        2- “Freebie” ??? this aggravate me to the core, since I hear it from you ,other people onboard and in the Island. Try this:
        -AIRFARE TO NEW YORK $460.00
        _ PRE-NIGHT NYC HOTEL $340.00
        - CRUISE CABIN (SHARED)$1,300.00
        - ISLAND EXPENSES YOU CAN FIGURE THE TOTAL AMOUNT:($$$) Ferry transportation St. Georg,Bus Tickets, Shopping in Lilly Bermuda perfume, Crystal Caves entrances, shops, Lunch in Hamilton,Souvenir shoppings Dinner in Swizzle Inn , late night drinks at Calico, Snorkeling & Kayaking.($$$$)
        -POST NIGHT NYC $370.00
        Next time you loosely use the words, Travel Agents are having ‘FEEBIES” , Feel free to shoot me an email at anytime to tell you more
        My impression of the Island is very positive, and I will highly recommended to my client.
        Cessy Meacham

  3. Terry says:

    One only has to look deeper Mr. Olson.

    Your part of the ‘old forty thieves’ via your position on Front Street.

    St.George is a ghost town and all developments are gaged for the ‘West End’.

    A new Marina et al.

    Follow the money and not necessarily Dr.Browns droppings.


  4. salt rock grill says:

    guess we missed the memo, we are 10 minutes away and still are waiting for the first cruise ship arrival passengers to visit back from April when they first arrived. As for promoting our business, well our business plan was rejected although it was mostly designed to get the tourist OFF the boats, something no one apparently here is interested in except the businesses suffering. We have already given these cruise whatever they wanted, its time now to refocus on land arrivals if we are to get anything back…

  5. Great says:

    Bermuda is a lovely place and I’m sure every tourism person want to come here to see it. Why not, it’s a free trip for them for the most part and they will be given the royal treatment, and it presents well on the surface. Unfortunately, the hotels here do not stack up. You definitely get more for your money in the States, not sure how they justify the prices verse what you get. The island is not easy to get around on unless you want to take a scooter which is not advised unless you have experience riding one. People are not used to taking taxis and being stranded in a strange place. Then there is the question “what is there to do here”? It’s great if you are older and want to stay in the hotel and take one or two taxi rides to the different towns but that’s about it. No nightlife or world class venues or entertainment options. If they only saw how regular tourists were treated they may understand why the 15% is automatically added to the bill. The Cruise ship model will always do well on islands where there is not much to do. Tourists eat and party on the boat and look around passively on the island then leave. The hotels are suffering for a reason. Fix the root cause and maybe tourism will flourish. Sending down agents is nothing new or more than wishful thinking.

  6. Rhonda says:

    What is the new product the BTA is showcasing…

  7. Rick Olson says:

    I would think the hotels and airlines would work very hard with the TA to give a competitive price if not comp a road show. We get very little from the cruise lines and I question has it even been worth it ?

  8. Tourism Advocate says:

    More info: ASTA chose for its annual conference to cruise on Norwegian to Bermuda. First time ASTA decided to have its annual gathering on a cruise ship. It’s a result of our good reputation (and some good fortune) that they chose to come here. So the BTA turned this opportunity into a sales and marketing objective to win future air arrivals. Although 400 travel professionals and their guests will arrive by ship, they will be given a full air visitor experience. They will be shown the best of Bermuda so that they can sell it to the millions of travelers around the world this group reaches. 50-plus tourism industry partners see the same opportunity the BTA does and their full commitment on this has been a true asset. We’re poised for success. It would help to have the support of everyone.

    • Rhonda says:

      What will they say about staying in any of our hotels, the check in or out, process. The comforts of the bed,room service. When something is showcased it’s putting on a show, something that is not real.

  9. We Are Not Amused! says:

    These 400 people will rave on and on about the Cruise Ships and say very little about Bermuda’s Hotels and other attractions.

    its just another freebie trip for these people

    • Raymond Ray says:

      Not necessarily. Correct me if I’m wrong but, wouldn’t the travel agency receive a commission for each bed they fill on the Island? If not, then maybe they should…

    • X man says:

      It is of the greatest importance that People of Travel the Travel Industry visit Bermuda and see right up front
      and for themselves,there Business,and the Client what to see and expect when they travel here.
      The method of which they got here which was by Cruise ship shouldn’t matter because Traveler will have the option
      of both Air or Cruise Ship Travel anyway.
      What bothers me is that they were not bought here during May 24th or Cup match so they can witness the
      best atmosphere and most lively time of Bermuda.
      Oh well’ at least they got here.

  10. Rick Olson says:

    If they want to make it 51 tourism partners we have entertainment 6 nights a week at both Red and Bermuda Bistro and there is NO COVER.

  11. Salty dog says:

    The agents will push the cruise ships first. You want to know why? Simple,the cruise ship people laid out the red carpet for them.Free this and that,that is the way it goes.If you think different,you are only fooling oneself!
    Mr.Olson has some good points. If you think the cruise ships are just transporting these agents down to benefit air arrivals,you may be very naive.These agents will sell any package to make themselves some coin,that is what they do.Air arrivals,cruise arrivals it does not matter to them ,as long as they make a sale.We should hope the agents do push some air arrivals our way,as they spend 10 times as much in our economy! But be assured,hotels and cruise ships are competing against each other!

    • Bda Diva says:

      The trip was likely not free at all. Travel agents pay to attend ASTA conferences.

  12. sage says:

    Do people still book through travel agents?

    • Pat Adderley says:

      Listen up my friends…yes people still use Travel Agents…come by and see us. Don’t just wait until we are like Triminghams…GONE….we are of course in competition with the web and that’s fine, but if you see a cruise or a tour you would like to book, why not check out Worldview Travel and keep us here for not only the jobs but for the good information we house here at 35 Church Street.
      Cruise passengers are people and many of them return to their destinations as land passengers once they have had a taste of the area…keep positive please..we do not need any more negativity.

    • Heavens says:

      always use a TA !

  13. Couple of Ideas says:

    We have a beautiful island home that has so much potential. Thank you to the Tourism Board for all efforts. I do , however, have a couple of points as food for thought. Why not also highlight some of the private guest accommodation options? Many such places are very successful because they are priced at a low and reasonable rate per night, and because their friendly and welcoming Bermudian owners shine. Hotels need to make every effort to become more affordable to visitors. They should have more affordable options for families who wish to visit Bermuda with children… for example, as I understand it, (and perhaps I am misinformed), there are no family suites at our hotels… families have to pay for 2 separate, adjoining rooms to accommodate children – often times 1 room is too expensive, let alone 2! This is why the Tourism Board should also consider promoting Bermuda’s alternative guest accommodations on such sites as airbnb and homeaway… many offer a great space for families at an affordable rate. This might help to do away with the perception that Bermuda is out of reach with high priced hotel rooms as the only option. The island also needs to change the bus schedule for the East End; it is ridiculous that the last bus servicing the East End of the island is at 6:15pm – very inconvenient for locals and visitors alike. Why is the West End serviced late into the night, but the East End is not? Some food for thought…

    • Raymond Ray says:

      I commend you on your observation but as far as transportation e.g. public buses that service the East end of the Island you need to be enlighten to this: The St.Davids bus stops I believe at 6:15 pm or shortly after and he number one bus stops at 6:45 pm 6 days per week from Hamilton and don’t start running until 10:00 am on Sunday morning and stopping around 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm. This MUST change!

    • Heavens says:

      Bermuda is not really a vacation destination for families with small children. Ever try to corral 2 small children on to a bus or ferry? Now, if we change the laws and allow tourists to rent cars, then it becomes affordable and practical.

  14. Coffee says:

    Poor Taxi Drivers , Mr.Hanbury hasn’t been appraised of your value as the Ambassador’s of Bermuda . You are the only industry that has historically held that title . Your little blue flag is nothing but a sad ornament on your hungry bonnet . Left out in the cold , not even a mention . Even the Italian restauranteur has a place at the table . But for you … No mention , no invite , no care , and if you take this lying down , no money ..
    You need a new advocate in this new Bermuda , the OBA/UBP/BTA , the tourist/transport minister is a truck drivers son , they have no interest in you , can’t you see ? Do you hear the silence ?

    • somuchless says:

      You continuously cause trouble. Go sleep and wake up on the right side of the bed.

  15. Puma says:

    Welcome aboard!…If you need anything ask….Your wish is our desire.

  16. Hotels are out priced and and the island is boring!!!!!!! Remember the Touch, Flavors, Spinning Wheel, Disco 40, King Port, Oasis, Happy Hour at Princess just recently every Friday, Anchorage, you could party at Rum Runners and Cock and Feather !!!!!!!! Damn this island is so so so boring. No wonder crime is way out of wack. Nothing to do. You can’t even rent a weekend hotel getaway for $99.00….. lmfao.. $700.00 , $250.00, $600.00 …… sickning, why so high, I can leave here, go to Miami connect to Barbados or JA or Trini for all expense 1 week paid round trip per person for $1000.00 food included….. Government is greedy and not just this Government, the previous ones too……. Now they complaining because no one comes here…. lmao, well go figure dumb people… GREED, GREED, GREED, GREED, GREED…… Watch when the Greed really kicks in when they try to rent tiny a** electric cars to the tourist, priced like a Mercedez, trust me, Its coming!!!!!!!!! Let me go JA. Flight to Miami leaves in the morning…….. lol … No strip clubs, no Casinos, no gunja, no topless bars, NO EXCITEMENT, No cheap license fees, No insurance breaks when you drive for 20 yrs without an accident, then you have one, they treat you like a damn criminal, rough you up, raise the fees, what about all the years without an accident, rip offs….. Oh to the bumbs on Front St, (like you gonna read this) !!!!! move to back of town for the next three days ..lol

    • Evie says:

      I totally agree with you boring and bloody well expensive what a rip off this Bermuda vacation $12-$15 for a effing beer ridiculousness SMDH

    • Heavens says:

      if you can leave, I suggest you go. you have NO CLUE what the Bermuda market is. We are not a titty destination. Never will be. Grow up.

      • Heavens says:

        No more expensive than London, NYC, Geneva.

        • You must be a Hotel , or guess house owner than. I D I O T !!!!!!!!

        • Declan Harrison says:

          You cannot compare Bermuda’s price structure to cities like those. Bermuda is not competing for the same people who visit those cities. Bermuda’s competetion, based upon its location, is the greater Caribbean area, which includes such places as the Mexican Yucatan, and the dozens of islands in the region. Back in Bermuda’s glory years, there wasn’t much tourist development in this area, except for such places as Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados, etc. Now, the whole region has a very developed scene. What gives them a big advantage over Bermuda is year-round great weather and ocean temperatures, mostly better pricing, and a lot of resorts.

          The country club crowd that used to flock to Bermuda is long gone. The younger generation seek activities beyond sunbathing and dinner. In the Internet age, it’s so easy to all kinds of pricing research and Bermuda just can’t compete. Bermuda has some of the highest labor rates, utility rates, not to mention dining and drinking costs.

          • Heavens says:

            You’re right on some points. You’re right that we are constantly compared with The Greater Caribbean when in fact we should not. As you rightly point out, we don’t have the weather nor their cost structure. Our market is still the upscale country clubbers. Many many many people from the BosNYWash come here for weekend golf/tennis all year round. THAT’s the market we should be catering to. That’s the market that our cost structure needs. The Hedge Fund crowd in Connecticut: we want them to come here and lie by the pool and go out for dinner HERE in stead of going to The Hamptons.

          • Big Gus says:

            We love visiting Bermuda. You all are very nice to us year after year. Air fare is high but lodging is fair and the drinks at Casey’s are wonderful and priced right. See you soon !!!

  17. Banana Boy says:

    Until Bermuda is willing to modify its product to compete with other destinations, we will be doomed to complete tourism failure. Price is not the only thing people look at – it is attractions and entertainment. The fact that we have lovely beaches and say good morning is simply not enough and we need to recognize this.

    Its as if Bermuda hasn’t had it bad enough yet. I’m not saying we need to become a t!tty bar destination as someone mentioned above, but there are things we could do that everywhere else does. Rent cars to tourists would be a good start. Have gaming for those who want it would be another. These are BASIC things that people expect on vacation. Bermuda needs to get off its collective backside and DO SOMETHING!!!

    Saying Bermuda is too small for renter cars is not a good enough excuse. Saying that certain people need to be protected from the evils of gambling is also not a good enough excuse.

    DO SOMETHING! Before we become ‘The Island that everyone forgot’.

  18. When was the last time an NFL player took his entire family to Bermuda for a week long vacay? or NBA player, or NHL player, or MLB player???????????????? HUH ? When…… Go figure!!!! Lebron James just took his whole family inlaws and all to a week long Carribean destination, why? as rich as he is its affordable. If Tiger Woods would’ve won a major he would’ve never come here because of a pass issue concerning him and his father when he was a kid. Besides that the previous golfers would’ve told him how boring the island is anyway…… Millionaires or average folks want some night life once the kids are sleep. Hotels used to have babysitters !! lol.. they don’t need them anymore, Why ? Because after dark you can hear a pin drop from the Flatts towers… Wake up politicians before a new party forms with an all Christian Party …… smdh

  19. Rhonda says:

    Am I understanding this correctly, this was not a BTA initiative… but are taking credit for it… just asking…

    Bernews could you confirm…

  20. Lynda Hartley says:

    Not a whole lot of water based activities offered….Guess we must have missed the invitation….

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