With expert leadership from our Board of Directors and management team, the Bermuda Tourism Authority successfully completed the transition from a government department. Taxpayers in Bermuda have an organisation that is transparent, cost efficient and professionally staffed. In fact, the strength and talent of our staff has played a significant role in our progress to date and they represent the key architects of a promising future.
In the run-up to the last general election, all parties agreed the concept of an independent tourism effort, outside of government, was the smart thing to do. A new tourism authority would act in the best interests of all of Bermuda and eliminate the dysfunction that knocked us off track. With a close eye on what the marketplace demands, not what Bermuda hopes the marketplace will accept, we are properly positioned for success in 2015.
In 2014, our Sales & Marketing team introduced a new marketing strategy. It was a seminal milestone on our path to exciting the modern-day traveller. The new approach focuses on experiential travel – telling rich, authentic stories about Bermuda across multiple platforms. We creatively leverage partnerships with media outlets, industry partners and influencers to develop high-quality content across video, photo, print, social and digital platforms. These are bold changes that we hope get us out of the rut we were in of not listening to what Bermuda’s customers really wanted. We knew the island needed a fresh approach and we began delivering that in the fourth quarter of the year.
We brought a fresh approach to our Products & Experiences strategy as well. In the Tourism Experiences process we have inspired local entrepreneurs to harness their vivid creativity and align it with our focused mission toward unique and authentic experiences. The result is a collection of new experiences that will dazzle our visitors, particularly in the culinary arena. I look forward to seeing all of these homegrown ideas take shape and launch in 2015.
Our Operations division had a heavy lift acclimating a new workforce into a performance-based, results-oriented culture and it has carried the load brilliantly. Meantime, it is also pursuing our formal certification as a Destination Marketing Organisation, achieving about 90% of that journey in the first nine months. This is a huge step for the country. When the BTA is certified by Destination Marketing Association International we will join an elite group of destination marketers around the world who are focused on sustainably growing their respective economies through tourism in the near and distant future.
New investment in Bermuda tourism infrastructure is another area where we are dedicating abundant attention. Our Investment division works diligently to find new investment and when likely investors are found they are guided through the government process. Our goal of moving investors from “red tape” to “red carpet” has gained significant traction in 2014. All the while, our investment chief is looking out for current tourism stakeholders and offering direction toward rehabilitating existing product.
As we move into 2015, the entire team is focused on three primary objectives, all of them growth oriented: increasing air arrivals, increasing visitor spending into the local economy and increasing room nights in hotels and vacation rentals. We trust our new marketing strategy will help us grow leisure air arrivals and room nights, while visitor spending will go up as we improve our arsenal of unique, authentic on-island experiences and culinary offerings.
During 2014 the public sector workforce was at capacity and the international business sector was consolidating, making it clear that tourism is the country’s best and fastest route to new jobs.
Some countries export cars and build ships; some countries send agricultural products to the four corners of the world; some countries have technology used by millions of global consumers; some countries possess vast natural resources like coal, oil and iron. Bermuda has none of these products. Our product is a high quality experience, a tourism experience that visitors can carry with them when they return home. That’s our number one export – beautiful, authentic and memorable experiences. Together we must focus on our number one export if we intend to turn the tide for Bermuda’s economy.
CEO, Bermuda Tourism Authority
As we move into 2015, the entire team is focused on three primary objectives, all of them growth oriented.