Covid-19: BTA Introduces Cost-Saving Measures

April 18, 2020 | 1 Comment

Glenn Jones Bermuda March 2019The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] Board of Directors has announced cost-saving measures “necessary across our organisation to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”

An email sent out by BTA Interim CEO Glenn Jones said, “The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] Board of Directors announced this week a slate of cost-saving measures necessary across our organisation to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

“The cuts are deep. They had to be. There is no tolerance for business as usual at the BTA when our stakeholders have shuttered their businesses, laid off staff, and struggle to plan for a future that is entirely uncertain.

“Like many of your businesses, the BTA’s income sources are severely injured by this crisis. About a third of our budget required cutting in this initial expense-reduction exercise, given the loss of visitor fees that normally contribute to our annual budget.

“Staff workweek reductions, salary cuts, agency contract re-negotiations, paused advertising placements, and the postponement of events are all part of a comprehensive strategy to preserve cash, maintain business continuity, and ready a marketing war chest to lead the destination’s economic comeback.

“With the organisation’s budget revised, it’s now up to BTA leadership to focus on keeping our team whole enough to plan the tourism recovery each of you is relying on once visitors can return. I wish I could tell you this is easy work. It is not.

“How Bermuda reopens safely — and when — are challenging questions to answer. Moving too soon or side-lining public health for economic priorities is wrought with risk. Even as advocates for Bermuda’s tourism economy, we would not endorse a plan that doesn’t put the island’s well-being at the forefront. A way forward guided by public health is the only way forward.

“Every day we work closely with government partners to get their best advice based on an ever-changing set of circumstances. You’ve already seen the agility of our BTA team in the face of this fluidity, pivoting in response to recent COVID-19 developments:

  • “Our webpage for Bermuda Resources has attracted high traffic volume
  • “The Great Bermuda Takeout Day rallied support for our restaurant community April 2 before the island had to shelter in place

“We take this same attitude for adaptability to our recovery planning. We need to figure out which consumers to target when it’s time to welcome visitors again. In which cities do we focus advertising spend? What airlift is available? What are the sentiments of cruise travelers?

“The answers to each of these questions is likely very different after COVID-19 than it was before.

“The future is daunting, undoubtedly. Today, it’s difficult to understand what our economy looks like even 30 days from now. But as the BTA navigates the unprecedented challenges of our seventh year as Bermuda’s destination marketing organisation, we are motivated by the comeback that was only recently underway.

“We must ready ourselves to do it again.”

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As the island and world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are doing our best to provide timely and accurate information, and you can find more information on the links below.

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  1. Eve says:

    How Bermuda reopens safely depends, almost entirely, on how safe the public health is in the U.S., Canada and UK is. Unfortunately these countries have been the biggest failures in testing enough of the public to determine what areas of their economy and country is safe to reopen.
    It will be months before these countries have enough testing in place to evaluate who is safe to travel outside their own community let alone beyond. When people from these countries will be looking for a vacation/holiday destination, that requires an airline flight, won’t be known for months. It will be important for Bermuda to be Covid free before visitors risk getting the virus and being quarantined outside their home country.
    Tourism sales & marketing will have to be phased in to parallel the demand and not wasted on a shotgun approach hoping to hit something. The hotels/visitor accommodations will need help to remain viable so they can phase in reopening. Initially it will be repeat visitors who know Bermuda and will want to return. Return to the days when Trade Development Board promoted Bermuda (Country) and hotels did their own sales & marketing and reduce cost to the visitor by 15%-20% or more.

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