“Bermuda Must Be A Brand That Stands Out”

November 17, 2015

“We must be a choice for travellers again. Bermuda must be relevant to them and their lifestyles, so that coming to Bermuda is what fits with who they are. Bermuda must be a brand that stands out and is not confused with others,” Premier Michael Dunkley said.

The Premier was speaking at the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s second annual one-day tourism summit which was held yesterday [Nov 16] at the Fairmont Southampton.

Michael Dunkley TC tourism nov 15

Premier Dunkley said, “I am pleased to join you today for an important occasion – the one time each year the entire tourism industry convenes to talk about its future.

“Ladies and gentlemen today provides us an opportunity to take a closer look at the business of tourism and for us to have some frank and candid conversations about the way forward. I am grateful for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.

Tourism in Bermuda has been confronted with its share of challenges but the fact remains that the industry is critical to Bermuda; it is an important economic driver and is a key employer of Bermudians in many different careers.

“Tourism offers opportunity in many areas so today is a day to harness the energy, enthusiasm and momentum to spur on our tourism revitalization which I believe is happening across the island.

“For many years tourism and international business have been referred to as the “twin pillars” of Bermuda’s economy. This characterization is more than just a statement of fact; it is a call to action.

“It demands that the leadership in both areas constantly adds to the lifeblood of their respective industries with innovation, flexibility and recognition of what is required for success in the modern world,” the Premier continued.

“In tourism, it is now settled history that we fell short of the mark in doing these things; not individually but as an industry generally. We ignored trends, changes in socio-economic demographics and we did not pay attention to the advent of new competitors who improved what we invented.

“The lesson of a downturn or recession for business has been one of developing better business models, becoming more efficient with better customer service or you do not survive.

“The lesson for tourism following the decline of our fortunes is no different. We can no longer trade on what we were and hope to inspire a new generation of travellers for whom Bermuda represents ‘your grandmother’s holiday’.

“As the debate rages around our tourism fortunes, and that debate will continue on as we are all experts, I am pleased that it now appears that there are few who take issue with the need for, or the principle of, a tourism authority.

“The need for an entity focussed on growing tourism, separate from the politics of the day appears to be accepted and the public discussion is rightly about results.

“The three quarters completed of 2015 have been difficult. The results to date have not been what we wanted.

“In considering the results it is important to recognise that our challenges did not simply happen overnight and thus we will not deal with these challenges in a night. Our competition will not roll over and play dead.

“Achieving the turnaround we all want to see in tourism is still a work in progress. This is not because of inaction or lack of effort.

“Let me clearly state that I am impressed by the energy and work ethic of the team at the BTA. We have a good team on the job.

“In every initiative we see unmatched commitment to gaining ground lost over the years. This work is not easy and I recognize that the BTA team is putting their all into the mandate to grow Bermuda’s tourism.

“The question for all of us at this point in the life cycle of the BTA is why the growth we seek is being so elusive. Why is it that although we are just over 700 miles from New York and Boston or 90 minutes by plane, we cannot break the cycle of low air arrivals and a tourism economy shored-up by cruise visitors?

“Is the answer to be found in increased budgets for marketing and advertising? Is the answer to be found in a market saturation strategy so that Bermuda is on every channel, every day, everywhere?

“This would help, but in reality the answer is not as simple as that. The answer my friends is making Bermuda matter again.

“We must be a choice for travellers again. Bermuda must be relevant to them and their lifestyles, so that coming to Bermuda is what fits with who they are. Bermuda must be a brand that stands out and is not confused with others.

“When I say Nike there is no doubt. When I say Apple most people know where the iStore is closest to them. We cannot achieve the revitalization of tourism by reminding today’s travellers why their parents and grandparents fell in love with Bermuda.

“We must make them fall in love with Bermuda for themselves.

“I know the BTA is up to this challenge. I am confident that they possess the innovation, flexibility and recognition as to what is required for success in the modern world.

“I have seen some impressive work by them which I believe is starting to build the Bermuda brand that is required. I am confident that the foundation they are building is once again developing the twin pillar I mentioned at the start of my remarks.

“Now ladies and gentlemen as we rebuild tourism, it is also critical that those in the industry on the island deliver the experience we promise.

“If we say we are a $400 a night destination then that is what we must deliver. If we say we have a beach experience that can’t be missed, we must deliver.

“This list goes on but the message is simple; tourism is a 24/7 business and while we have the basic ingredients to transform the experience from good to the exceptional, at all times we must offer the quality and service expected. We must deliver the goods.

“Ladies and gentlemen today’s level of interest in this summit is a key indicator of the unity of purpose that is essential for the success of the industry.

“2016 and beyond presents us with unique opportunities to establish a niche again in the marketplace. When opportunity knocks we must answer the door, when the phone rings we must not let it go to voicemail. The world we live in today waits for no one.

“We have the assets to be successful- our culture, our beaches, our historical landmarks, our golf and spa, our activities and experiences, the many events in our calendar, the America’s Cup in 2017 and of course our people, our Tourism Ambassadors.

“We have all that is required to renew our product and provide experiences that resonate with today’s traveller. I believe that your efforts and the efforts of this Government thus far are taking root and will yield a positive outcome.

“I also believe that we can return Bermuda to the “top of mind destination” for those who influence today’s trends and market decisions. This was our strength before and it can be again.

“So in closing, it is clear that we still have a lot of work to do, but I am encouraged by what I see taking place and I am encouraged by your attendance and interest today. You have this Government’s commitment and full support to those efforts designed to return this industry to its prominence in our community,” concluded Premier Dunkley.

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Comments (20)

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  1. RBYC member says:

    I returned home last night and stood in customs for 65 mins and that’s before my passport was seen. When I finally reach the officer it took him 5 mins to check my passport. This was totally unacceptable. How can we strive to be the best for the Tourism business?

    • frank.senogles says:

      After what happened in France it is good to be vigilant Bermuda, keep your visitors and Bermudians safe no matter how long it takes to clear security.

      • Wake up Bie says:

        Stop with the politricks. The Oba has a computer problem but refuse to fix it until the 2017 America’s Cup or next election. Ask anyone that works at the airport.

        • Ringmaster says:

          No computer problem last night at the airport. Unless of course taking a person’s Passport, looking at it, putting it down, watching and listening to the officer in the next door booth talking to the person in front of them, picking the nails, picking up the Passport, asking a question, watching the person in the next booth, looking at you and smirking, asking a stupid question hoping for a reaction and after 5 minutes stamping the Passport is a computer problem. They need to watch out, karma is coming.

        • Lois Frederick says:

          I was told this while in the line by someone defending the snail paced movement at the airport. Budgetary constraints laid on by the former govt. Thanks!

  2. Liberty says:

    Tourists want to feel free. Free the ganja, remove the moral hypocrisy that plagues this island.

  3. Amelia says:

    It’s pretty well known that Bermuda’s brand is ‘expensive’, a destination for older people and that there is very little to do. Until that is changed extensively, our tourism numbers will not change, especially as people in the U.S. remain concerned about traveling in general due to the worldwide terrorist attacks. Although we know Bermuda is safe, people will simply stay home or stateside out of fear. We must work so much harder to fix our very damaged brand. Airfares are extremely high, hotel rooms hard to get and very high, food and transport charges very high. Activities!? You can’t slap lipstick on a pig!

  4. impressive. says:

    It seems we as a populace have become so consumed by the media and all its trends, slang, terms etc. that we lean toward using these terms to express ourselves.. I am referring to the term “brand” and “branding” which is becoming the new catch phrase for what we generally know as marketing.. pet peeve sorry, I just hate when adults act like children and start using terms that are “popular”.. This isn’t an attack on Premier Dunkley alone by the way, its just an observation how I have witnessed how a new trend or term becomes wildly used to the point where I wonder how people expressed themselves prior to the term or phrase being used. Thank God my mind doesn’t default to “Group Think” without even thinking for ones self. By the way, I am well aware of what the term branding means, just irritated that how easily it has become of the new corporate slang words.

    It may seem like I am going on and on about nothing, and maybe I am, but from where I sit, it appears the world is running short of individuals, who think freely and objectively.

  5. Y-gurl says:

    Unfortunately since 2008 we have been standing out for all the wrong reasons

    • Especially since Jet Gate and all the other Gates.

      • Come Correct says:

        What about auditorgeneralsreport gate? You didn’t say anything there. That was taxpayers money. Do you have some sort of bias?

      • Sickofantz says:

        So 3 Members of the Government go on a potential investor in Bermuda’s private jet to meet him, thus saving the public purse the cost of the flights. Umm I think that this also ocurred under the previous government.
        Not advisable protocol but if it’s the worst this government does then they are head and shoulders above the last interms of Bad Moves!

  6. somuchless says:

    I’m lost. Shouldn’t Hanbury be making a remark like this? I forgot. All he’s about is making $1000 a day and collecting a bonus.

    • Eve says:

      Great question, but do not feel lost BTA is lost for sure. Like the BTA the Premier is lost when it comes to what must be done to achieve that positive outcome.

  7. Fidel says:

    They should do as they do in Jamaica . Pay $50 for the express immigration line. A guaranteed money maker and no waiting around !!!!!!

  8. “The lesson of a downturn or recession for business has been one of developing better business models, becoming more efficient with better customer service or you do not survive”. – Michael Dunkley.

    One thing you missed in this sentence, ” offer new tourism products “.
    To better “service our visitors” we must offer more.

    Gone are the days where a moped is the only rental option.
    Bermuda must step up an offer smart cars, electric cars, Twizy’s etc. Hotel guests or house rental visitors want the ability to drive around when on holiday.
    Leave the taxis to service the cruise ships, business travelers, airport arrivals etc.
    Because of the islands size we only offer car rentals to folks that fly into Bermuda.

    The Americas Cup is coming. All eyes of the world will be upon us. So…. We need to show the world that Bermuda is buzzing from entertainment, casino ( we must get at least one open in time and there would be no better place to start than the Hamilton Princess).
    The island must embrace Same Sex Marriage. It is not only the right thing to do from a Human Rights perspective, but SSM will generate tens of millions in tourism revenue, Bermuda is literally losing out bigtime on this in terms of business and indeed PR.

    Horseshoe Bay beach facility remains a disgrace.
    A Beach Sports center with beach volleyball and beach tennis would be a great attraction for visitors and locals alike.
    The Americas Cup village of October 16/17/18 showed what a buzz Front Street can be. We must do something to make something like this a permanent feature.

    The scuba diving remains largely ignored as the BTA did not attend the recent Miami Diving convention – Bermuda dive business owners were being asked “where is your booth” ???
    We continue to put scuba diving on the back burner – so it seems.

    Bermuda would do well to relax the laws on marijuana so that visitors can come and enjoy and relax, for those that want, instead of hounding visitors with fines, and raiding cruise ship cabins. That is so “police state”.
    What our visitors want to know is that Bermuda is safe.
    That Bermuda is a place to go, free of terrorists and swarming with refugees. With all the mess in Europe and the Middle East we must capitalize on this. I am currently in Barbados and they are projecting their best winter in years. The Brits ain’t going anymore to “Sharm” in Egypt, or to lie on the beaches of Tunisia. It is just too risky.
    Safety is important, and the police should be focusing on this in Bermuda….”Safety”.

    Bermuda is being serviced by a monopoly from Europe – namely British Airways – who continue with outrageous airfares to Bermuda. Outrageous, when oil is at a real low. It is pure piracy on BA’s part.
    Bermuda needs, and must have, an alternative to BA where airfares from Europe are as cheap for visitors as flights to Cuba, Domenican Republic etc.
    We can have the best beaches, hotels etc but even the rich do not like to get fleeced on air travel. Truly it is time for a better deal and “Service”?

    I have pushed and pushed for Bermuda to be a tax free zone for the arts. I have pushed the BTA for “hotels” to invest in proper entertainment production and presentation. Year after year we continue to treat entertainment and entertainers as “necessary extras”. It is no less important than a nice restaurant, swimming pool, tennis court or golf course. Yet “No Hotel” is presenting entertainment properly.
    The cruise Ships all have “state of the art facilities”. It is time our hotels stepped up. It will not cost a fortune, but could make a great return for hotels and indeed really raise the level of guest satisfaction, experience and service.
    It is time for the BTA and the Givernment to seriously look at the Tax Free Zone for the Arts.

    Bermuda is indeed a jewel. But we need to sell that image of being cool, relaxed, chilled and groovy. There is still an element of stiffness and dated conservatism that is not really an attractive vibe for the modern day traveler.
    So let’s offer more, loosen up and raise of level of service and we will be a must go island for visitors worldwide.
    Tony Brannon

    • Sickofantz says:

      Great comment but you can dream on about the cheaper flights from Europe as we simply do not have the economies of scale in terms of visitors.

      I agree that Safety is an increasingly important consideration although one that is difficult to position.

      I would now hesitate to go on holiday to:-
      Middle East
      (Surely we can pick some slack up from these destinations.

  9. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    I would like to see, feel, experience, and hear something fantastic from the Ministry of Entertainment:::

    Something better that no other island has, because we have to be different and dream the impossible dream and make it work :::

    Our Visitors want to be able to say to their friends when they return home ” We have been to Paradise and their streets are paved with gold ” ! :::

    It is all about having a good time :::

    it is not what you can’t do , it is what you can do.

    Bermuda is a 5 STAR ISLAND in the sun,

    • Russ says:

      Fixing the crime problem is a threshold issue. Without the effective resolution of the crime problem tourism cannot move forward.

      The obvious next step is to develop a product that is competitive – the old ‘value for money’ argument that was employed in the past. The most inexpensive way to approach this is to renew the ‘friendly’ island reputation that was so dominant in Bermuda’s past tourism success. The elimination of the PLP would be a wonderful start.

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