BTA Investing $813,000 In Tourism Experiences

December 7, 2014

Aerial tours on a Cessna aircraft, an international Town Crier Competition and Hubie’s Nights by Chewstick are some of the tourism experiences that will receive more than $813,100 in funding from the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

The BTA said, “More than $813,100 will be invested in homegrown ideas from local entrepreneurs as part of the 2015 tourism mix, the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] said at the conclusion of its annual Tourism Experiences Investment process. There were 40 successful applications for 2015 in either the Sports, Arts & Culture, New Experiences or Marketing Support category.

“We are proud to say we had a very strong collection of homegrown ideas from the public,” said Pat Phillip-Fairn, Chief Product and Experiences Officer for the BTA. “We spent a considerable amount of time educating entrepreneurs with our lunch and learn series earlier this year and it paid off.

“The ideas were far better aligned with our overall strategy for tourism growth than the last time around. In fact two-thirds of those who attended our seminars and submitted an application were successful.”

“Overall, 55% of applications were successful, an improvement over the last process in April which saw a success rate of about 40%. The Product and Experiences team says the quantity of applicants decreased while the quality of applications increased, which suggests entrepreneurs better understood the criteria for success,” the BTA said.

“However, the full amount of 2015 Tourism Experiences investment won’t be known until the New Year when post-event reports from a handful of 2014 awardees whose events were recently completed or haven’t occurred yet are due. Recurring Tourism Experiences must prove certain objectives were met before being awarded funding in the following year. The final BTA investment in homegrown ideas for 2015 is likely to exceed $1 million.”

Mrs. Phillip-Fairn said: “We’re certain to invest a greater sum in homegrown ideas than we did in April shortly after the BTA was formed. I think that is a testament to the quality of Bermudian innovation, especially in the area of new experiences. Entrepreneurs have studied our strategies and come to us with ideas that help the Product and Experiences team meet its objectives of improving the visitor experience.”

Audio comment from Pat Phillip-Fairn, BTA Chief Product and Experiences Officer

The BTA said, “Thirteen new experiences applicants will receive $344,500 in investment because their unique and authentic ideas are designed to help set Bermuda apart from competing destinations.

“The ideas range from personalized yacht charter tours through the island’s hidden coves to spectacular aerial tours on a Cessna aircraft to a dynamic shore side food court serving up authentic Bermudian dishes.”

Mrs. Phillip-Fairn said: “The team was particularly excited about the strength of applications in the new experiences area. People came in with ideas that hone in on Bermuda’s natural beauty, but in an enterprising and innovative way.

“Everyone understands we need imagination to revitalize our tourism product and we believe we have a collection of new ideas that will put us well on our way to accomplishing that goal. It’s no mistake that 42% of the investment funds dedicated thus far for 2015 are going to new experiences.”

“Some of the most exceptional new experiences ideas need seed money to get off the ground. As the BTA’s Powers of Authority enables the organization to grant loans, interest-free loans are being offered to those particular applicants to ensure their experiences are implemented as quickly as possible,” the BTA added. ”

“The list includes tour experience Scootcoupe, Funworx hydro-bikes, a Shelly Bay Beach experience, Pilot Gigs Rowing Regatta and Soma Sailing.”
“We viewed these ideas as literally too good to pass up and we want to see them start-up quickly,” said Mrs. Phillip-Fairn. “We have offered seed money and repayment terms and we hope these entrepreneurs will accept the offers and deliver on their wonderful ideas.”

Ten sports-related Tourism Experiences earned investment funds totaling $228,600. Two of them – Marion-Bermuda Yacht Race and Bermuda Marathon Weekend – were elevated from Tourism Experiences to Signature Experiences.

“Signature Experiences have proven track records for driving visitors to Bermuda and stimulating economic activity or they have the potential to advance the BTA’s core objectives in a significant way,” Mrs. Phillip-Fairn explained. “The Marion-Bermuda Yacht Race and Bermuda Marathon Weekend easily qualify under those criteria.”

Arts & Culture
Eleven arts and culture Tourism Experiences received $240,000 in investment funding from the BTA. Beachside activities at Tobacco Bay and an international Town Crier Competition are on the list as are experiences built around local food, art and music.

Some of the funded Arts & Culture experiences are strategically positioned between November and March, which the BTA has rebranded Arts & Culture Season. This includes Hubie’s Nights by Chewstick which will begin in February and span multiple months.

Marketing Support
Six Tourism Experiences will receive marketing support from the BTA as their idea or event fits well with Bermuda’s existing marketing strategies. The 2015 Tourism Experiences to receive marketing support in this manner include two events with BTA stakeholders at the City of Hamilton — Bermuda Fashion Festival and City Art Festival.

Successful Applicants

Bermuda Fly-fish Invitational

Open water fly-fishing tournament

June 23-27,2015

Bermuda Golf Association

Season long scheduled of golf events


Bermuda National Swimming Championships

International swim meet at National Sports Center

May 28-31,2015

Bermuda Open Volleyball

International team tournament

April 10-12,2015

Bermuda Triple Challenge

A three day weekend obstacle course series

March 13-15,2015

Futsal Invitational 2015

International Indoor Soccer invitational

April 8-12,2015

Kitty Michael International Golf Tournament

Women’s International Invitational Golf Tournament

April 20-24,2015

Marion – Bermuda Yacht Race (Signature Experience)

Invitational open water race from Marion, Massachusetts to Bermuda

June 19-27,2015

Bermuda Open Golf

Invitational Golf Tournament

March, 2015

Bermuda Marathon Weekend (Signature Experience)

International running event

January 16 – 18, 2015


Bermuda Fashion Festival (M)

Hamilton-based fashion events, partnered with New York fashion  cruise

July 6 – 12,2015

Bermuda Town Crier Competition

Featuring 25 town criers from Bermuda and overseas

April 21-26,2015

Bermuda Good Friday Kite Fest

Beachside celebration of kite flying and cultural traditions around Easter

April 3,2015

Chewstick Hubie’s Nights

Celebrating local entertainers and legacy of legendary Bermuda entertainment hub

February 6-October 2,2015

City Art Festival (M)

Featuring local artists and related events


City Food Festival

Celebrating Bermuda’s culinary offerings

March 16-21,2015

Cup Match Summer Splash (M)

Series of events and entertainment around the Cup Match holiday

July 25-29,2015

Harbour Nights

Weekly street festival with local entertainment and vendors


Late Nights @ BNG

Fusion of art and entertainment

January 29-April 30,2015

Plein Air Festival

Landscape painting experience for local and overseas artists

October 10-18,2015

St George’s Beach Town Gateway

Featuring local entertainment and culture

February 1,2015-December 31,2017

Sunday Live at Snorkel Park

Featuring local entertainment and culture

May 17-October 4,2015

Town Crier & Ducking Stool Historical Re-enactments

Historical re-enactments in St. George’s Town Square

April 1,2015-March 30,2016

Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts (Signature Experience)

Annual performing arts and cultural experience

January 23– 8 March, 2015


Bermuda Explorer – Authentic Bermuda Experience (M)Recreational, dining and cultural experiences with local families


Bermuda Heroes Weekend 2015

Cultural celebration and entertainment for National Heroes Day weekend

June 12-15,2015

Blue Sky FlightsAerial tour experiences

January 1,2015

Bridging Bermuda Railway Trail

Enhancing Railway Trail experience


Funworx Bermuda

Hydrobikes for water-based experiences


LIV 2015Land- and sea-based themed experience

July 3-6,2015

On De Rock Experience

Featuring local food, entertainment and vendors at new North Shore venue

February 1,2015

Scootcoupe Bermuda

Alternative mobile guided tour experiences

April 1,2015

Pilot Gigs

Invitational six-oared rowing regatta

October 2015

Shelly Bay Beach Amenities and Beach House Restaurant

Family-focused, Bermuda-themed experience and tours

April 1,2015

The North Shore Ferry (M)


The North Shore Tour Centre (M)

January 1,2015

Taste of Bermuda (M)

Dining experiences with local families


The Bermuda Hibiscus Gardens Trail

Eco-themed tour


Vista View Bermuda

Family-friendly entertainment based at Dockyard


Soma Sailing

Personalized yacht charter sailing and tours


2016 Viper North Americans

High-performance one-design dingy regatta


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Comments (27)

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  1. somuchless says:

    Isn’t one of them operated by a BTA employee and if I am correct that she is, wouldn’t that be conflict of interest or part of a friends and family scheme?

    • Sensitive says:

      Authentic now means new.
      The problem is we hired people who had never organised a thing and do not know local culture and rarely attend the real authentic events. A nice comprehensive list. If a tourist ask: “How long has this been going on?”. They will soon realise we have made these activities up and called them “authentic”.
      To begin with, we cannot continue to have a Bermuda Festival with only one Bermudians main act participant when we have such excellent bands, and dance schools that are IGNORED.
      Sorry but this list is a JOKE! But we are Not laughing.

  2. concerned ambassador says:

    Wow! The list of new experiences sounds promising, especially the Cessna aircraft. Can’t wait to see all of these come to fruition. Good luck guys!

  3. Micro says:

    A million spent should mean a million plus earned, otherwise the initiative is a failure.

    • Tourist Experience says:

      I’m one of the people who will receive support through this program.

      I will repay 100% of the money, will pay payroll and other taxes, and create work for several people so the government will more than double its money in the first year.

    • Micro says:

      Sad to see people believe otherwise. How do you think we found ourselves in the current situation?

      Return on investment.

  4. Good Things says:

    This along with everything from the Americas cup, also the new airport. Bermuda is ready to make a statement to the world as a top destination! I can’t wait and I’m glad to know the right steps are being taken in order to fulfil these goals! Great ideas.

    • $$$$$$$$$$ says:

      Lets be honest the Airport and Hotel will not be completed until after the Americas Cup!

      The only thing which will save the OBA and the BTA in 2017 is the Americas Cup!

      What are we going to now 2015 and 2016?

      The Bermuda election will be called after the Americas Cup. Hopefully this help the OBA Win, but don’t forget in 1998 when the UBP loss to the PLP…………the economy was booming with $$$$$$$$ and jobs.

      • Micro says:

        Yes, don’t forget that in 1998, the PLP inherited a functioning prosperous economy that was essentially coasted on autopilot for a few years after they took they reigns. They then dug us in a hole that we quite possibly may not get out of.

      • Jackpot says:

        You are so right and that is exactly what my OBA friends said while we were sipping a cup of tea. And by the way: what is a Hubie’s Experience? The Chewstick Founders were rarely there. In fact they showed contempt for anything but their own pictures in a mirror. Sounds good but what a JOKE. Come on, define authentic and tell us who has been doing it for a while.
        They can’t and they know it. The number of applicants have been down because so many are fed up with the BTA’s stringent criteria which not one officer would qualify for….oh….I can’t find a single thing they ever organised that was cultural. Yet they make the decisions.

      • Need to realize says:

        And look what happened when PLP took over, EVERYTHING went downhill. At least OBA is taking us somewhere

        • Time to pay up says:

          The only thing that may takes us somewhere is the Americas CUP, which I last checked we are paying millions for. June is not much wind, but I wish for the best.

          We have nothing new from now to 2017. Wait until all the Gov workers vote to get their 1 day pay back because all of a sudden the Gov has millions in the kitty to spend.

  5. Ruthless says:

    Still think that since Cross Fit is the new BIG thing, we could put on a Cross Fit Bermuda Challenge. This would draw plenty of participants and spectators from overseas. Could use Clearwater Beach area.

    • Onion says:

      Well, make an application for next year’s experience funding…

    • Huh says:

      Suggest you read a little further..
      Bermuda Triple Challenge
      A three day weekend obstacle course series March 13-15,2015

  6. Terry says:

    The wall sitters and welfare people and PLP trolls are out in force.
    All this negativity and dislikes fortifies my thinking of how they screwed up and the trickle down from the trough is netting 0.

    Keep up the great work OBA and yes all those civil servants and front line people.

    Better days are coming for many especially those that really give a sheet for all.

    • Oh yes Terry, as much as I dislike having to agree :-( “The wall sitters and welfare people and P.L.P. trolls are out in force.
      All this negativity and dislikes fortifies my thinking of how they screwed up and the trickle down from the trough is netting 0.”
      Yes, better days are coming…

  7. Triangle Drifter says:

    Tough to come up with something original that will be successful.

    The aircraft is already in Bermuda. Nothing new here. At one point there were 2 floatplanes operating out of Hamilton Harbour. More recently there was the helicopter. It was noisy & failed. The small aircraft that just arrived is very quiet. Looks to be only a 4 seater (Pilot & 3 passengers). Wish the operators luck. Hope the flight restrictions are not too restrictive. Nobody want to fly around Bermuda a half mile offshore.

    The small charter boat idea has been done before. Many times. All eventually failed. Not many people can afford the $200 per hour rate such a boat would need to be viable. Yes, it would be that much. All of the overheads such as advertising, fuel, maintenance etc. never mind a salary for the skipper, add up. This is not something for your average cruise ship passenger.

    The bottom line is that none of these businesses can survive without customers. Fly in, stay in hotel customers.

    They also need promotion from within the hotels. Far too often if a service was not on the hotel property it did not exist because the hotels want guests to only use their onsite activities like a landbound cruise ship.

  8. Terry says:

    Triangle. You need to set your feet back on the shores.

    We all know that craft maintenance is pricy. Safety first.

    If one can spend hundreds of dollars at a bar/resturants one can fly around and have a beer whilst doing so.

    Flight restrictions are minimal. It’s not Dulles/JFK/ or even Havana….

  9. Coffee says:

    Saving the fire-eaters , limbo dancers and calypsonians for next year when everything else …….!

  10. .am says:

    OT: what ever happened to Hawkin’s Island?

  11. we need an underwater hote…bar restaurant entertaiment feeding fish times …and usting sound to stimulate sea life with lighting for night viewing……again …hydro electric and solar power…

  12. something fresh.

  13. Stunned... says:

    Unless I missed it, I don’t see the Annual International Bridge Tournament put on by American Bridge that is a signature event and played at the Southampton Princess Hotel every February. I’ve seen tremendous write up’s of the beauty of the island and the well run tournaments in their publications.

  14. Stunned... says:

    - I hwould like to see an annual Wine/Cheese expo with celebrity chefs
    - A move to invite cable stations to host Cake Decorating/food competitions in Bermuda
    - I would like to see a concerted effort to court the idea of destination weddings to the wealthy Asians who are renown for spending 100′s of thousands on weddings, including golf packages, spa treatments etc, one-way cruise to New York honeymoon add-on for example
    - Can we not try to see if a stage of the Tour de France could happen here
    - An annual book signing expo weekend where top 5 Best Sellers Authors are invited to launch new books, hold readings and workshops for new writers
    -An International Chess Tournament with world champions

    My point is we need more activities that are indoor based given the predictabilty of inclement weather.

    Just some thoughts.