On Bermuda’s wish list: a stronger tourism authority, more hotels

On Bermuda’s wish list: a stronger tourism authority, more hotelsTORONTO — Bermuda “wants to take a fantastic destination and elevate it to the next level” and part of that goal includes a new tourism authority that’s strong on ideas and not quite so tied to politics.

Robin Danes, Director of Sales, Canada for the Bermuda Department of Tourism, says the organization is looking to privatize in the next few years, to create a stand-alone tourism authority less prone to shake-ups each time a new tourism minister comes in, and where the focus is on both customers and product.

Back in January, Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, Shawn Crockwell, announced plans to create the new, non-political body which would be responsible for product development and marketing strategies for the Island’s tourism industry. Run by industry experts, the authority will take over much of the work previously carried out by civil servants and politicians within the Ministry of Tourism.

“Our goal is to show we’re a distinct destination,” said Danes at a press event in Toronto yesterday. “We’re more than just pink beaches – and yes, they really are pink. We have art and culture, spas and golf. We also offer ‘less’: less stress for Canadian travellers with a two hour and 45 minute flight due east of the Carolinas.”

Both Air Canada and WestJet offer three flights a week to Bermuda. Recent Canadian visitor figures dipped a bit with Air Canada pulling back on service but the airline is slowly increasing its Bermuda schedule again over the winter with seven flights per week expected by May 2014, added Danes.

Bermuda is a popular port for cruise lines, so much so that cruise passengers to the island outnumber air passengers. Since air passengers spend more, the island is looking for a better balance between the two markets.

Bermuda is also looking for more hotel development and recently announced a $70 million renovation project for the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

The island’s Endless Summer promotion runs through the end of November with free nights at participating properties. See gotobermuda.com.