BTA to showcase Bermuda’s tennis history
As Bermuda’s marketing partnership with the US Open gets under way next week, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is encouraging entrepreneurs, museum curators and artists to come up with ideas to showcase the island’s fascinating tennis history.
The best proposals could receive funding from the BTA’s Tourism Experiences Investment Programme, which provides grants to home-grown ideas to help them either start up or expand.
Tennis is one of four areas of focus for the programme’s fall 2019 application process. Others are: food tourism experiences, repurposing cultural sites and natural assets and experiences and services for superyacht tourism.
While those areas of focus are of particular interest to the BTA’s strategic priorities for 2020, all home-grown tourism ideas are welcome for consideration. The process begins on August 28 and 29, when interested applicants can participate in a free BTA prep workshop offering tips on how to submit a winning presentation.
Bermuda’s link to tennis heritage gets the spotlight this month during the US Open, which begins August 26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York. The BTA hopes the event will inspire some creative local thinking around the sport.
“This is the first time we have specifically called upon applicants to think about sports history as a tourism experience in Bermuda,” said chief experience development officer Glenn Jones. “Almost 150 years ago, Mary Outerbridge introduced tennis from Bermuda to the United States. It’s a story our marketing team will share with tennis fans during the US Open. When those fans come to Bermuda, we should offer them a memorable experience that illustrates our country’s connection with the sport they love.”
Ms Outerbridge is credited by the International Tennis Hall of Fame as the ‘Mother of American Tennis’. She was born in America to Bermudian parents, and first came across the game while visiting her family’s Bermuda home in 1874. She learnt tennis from British officers stationed on the island. She later took tennis equipment back to New York, introducing the sport to her home borough of Staten Island. Today, a mural there tells her story. The BTA’s strategy is for Bermuda to devise its own form of storytelling on this historic milestone.
“I’m confident the island’s entrepreneurs, museum curators and artists can come up with something brilliant that brings to life this little-known piece of Bermuda’s past,” Mr Jones said.
Tourism experience applications are accepted from September 1 to 30. Decisions are announced in late October. Successful applicants are encouraged to launch their ideas in the first or second quarter of 2020. Those looking to attend the prep workshops should register in advance online via the BTA website: www.gotobermuda.com/bta/tourism-experiences-investment.
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