Video: Ann Smith Gordon On Island Hospitality

April 17, 2015

Ann Smith Gordon has been acknowledged by Imagine Bermuda as a “Hospitality Hero” during BHI’s Hospitality Month, with Ms. Gordon saying “I’m an Onion, and I love Bermuda; anything I can share with our visitors, I’m really happy to do.”

When asked about her involvement in the tourism industry, Ms. Gordon said, “Well, it started out with tourism but it’s now cultural affairs. I just finished my 27th season from the November to March activities and for the first 25 years I did a walk in Somerset.

“I’d take them on the railway trail and through a nature reserve and they chewed fennel and sucked honey suckle and smelled Rosemary…and they loved it. They go on the beach and we chat with whoever’s around.

“The walk was supposed to be an hour, but always lasted longer, and then I’d give them a 20 minute slideshow on Bermuda, and they loved it.

“I think it started with me giving a slideshow called ‘A Mini Glimpse of Bermuda’; it’s just a race through the parishes, picking out something of interest in each parish.”

Ann Smith Gordon Bermuda, April 10 2015-1

“I’m an Onion, and I love Bermuda; anything I can share with our visitors, I’m really happy to do.”

When asked why Bermuda is such a special place to visit, Ms. Gordon said, “Well, it’s a special place to live. When I grew up, it was a big deal to go for a picnic on a Sunday. We’d hire a carriage, drive to the first beach; if there were more than two people on it, we wouldn’t go to it, we’d tell that horse to go on to the next beach.

“Why is Bermuda such a special place for people? Well, most of our visitors are North American, aren’t they? And we are British; we’ve lost a bit of that influence, I think, which is a shame.

“We are different, we do have a wonderful history, we have wonderful architecture, flowers all year, sometimes a hurricane.

“The friendliness of the people; that’s something that’s always remarked upon. I think the people are huge asset and I just pray we don’t lose that; we have lost it a bit.”

When asked what Bermudians in general can do to help the hospitality and tourism ideal, Ms. Gordon said, “Well, they need to understand its importance in the first place. I think probably we better start in the schools, have these children understand how important it is.”

“The tourists do remark about how polite the school children are on the buses. But I think we need to make sure that all these generations coming up behind us understand that and help people and be friendly and give advice – just be a Bermudian.”

When asked what changes she has seen in our visitors over the past 27 years, Ms. Gordon said, “Well, they don’t come for the same reason that they used to come. They were a different type of people, number one, and I think the package tours changed all that.

“Not that I’m against package tours, but they come for a different reason now. To drink rum, crash their bikes into our walls after they’ve had too many Rum Swizzles, lying on the beach, burn themselves to death with sun.”

When asked about her other endeavors to promote tourism, Ms. Gordon said, “Since 1989, I’ve put out a book, and then three years after that, I published the ‘Glimpses of Bermuda’ calendars. And if it’s a terrible day, or if the boat doesn’t show up and people are disappointed, I always give them one for free instead of selling them for $5.”

When asked where she sees Bermuda’s hospitality industry going in the future, Ms. Gordon said, “I wish that I could look into a crystal ball and say that it’s coming back.”

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  1. When asked where she sees Bermuda’s hospitality industry going in the future, Ms. Gordon said, “I wish that I could look into a crystal ball and say that it’s coming back.”
    Oh don’t we all. I’d noticed in the time in returning to the Island,(some twenty odd years ago) that there’s a real dramatic / traumatic change in our culture…Not meaning to offend anyone from elsewhere but, “Bermudians today want dress like Americians, talk like Westindians and spend money like millionaires.” We’ve, (to a great extent) lost our identity as a “people”. It’s sad yes, but true :-(

  2. Just a matter of time says:

    Question is, did we ever truly have a strong national identity to begin with? The one thing I can say that has been truly ours for those mostly born and raised here is our accent (Not Westindian with all due respect). That alone is mostly our claim as true Bermudian. In fact the accents differ between black and white but still it’s Bermudian. I am proud of this. Other aspects of our culture (cassava pie, Sunday codfish and potatoes, Bda shorts) wax and wane with changes over time having historical roots from other places. For example, Sunday codfish breakfast is now everyday at most of the delis and cassava pie is not only just for Christmas but for any special occasion (Bermuda Day, Cup Match, a birthday party….) But our accent is truly ours and ours alone as no one else in the world speaks like us. Too bad we try to shed it quickly in order to sound more ‘intelligent’ for the mainstream and as more foreigners come here who really don’t respect it. An awful thing. More American than Bermudian speak is preferred as a result I agree. Shame.