Entrepreneurs flock to tourism event
A speed-networking event to help tourism businesses battle red tape could help to turn bright ideas into reality, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said this week.
Glenn Jones, the BTA’s chief experience development officer, said the event tapped into a desire among business people to have talks with regulatory bodies.
He added that the event “scratched an itch” that entrepreneurs have complained about for some time — accessibility to decision-makers.
Mr Jones explained: “What we find is that we are inspiring entrepreneurs to be innovative and when they are answering that call, they sometimes run into road blocks with regulatory authorities, because they have processes in place to deal with what’s happening now, not necessarily for the future, so their idea would just be too new to progress, with all the approvals they need.”
He said: “I think it really ignited some conversations that we hope get all the way to the point of having ideas get off the ground.”
Mr Jones added a babysitting service for visitors was among the suggestions discussed.
The speed-networking evening last Thursday brought together about 17 tourism industry partners and 30 entrepreneurs at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
People had ten minutes to ask questions or discuss their ideas with the relevant organisations before it was time to move on.
Mr Jones said: “There was a woman who is an artist who was looking for ways to have people come in and create work that is Bermuda-inspired.
“That was sort of a fresh idea that I hadn’t been exposed to before that I thought was really interesting.
Mr Jones added: “We know there are a lot of visitors, that are very interested in experiences where they can create something that can’t be done anywhere else and she had a very novel approach, in how she wants to accomplish that.”
The BTA said innovation was a big part of the National Tourism Plan and a “critical component of building a successful tourism industry”.
Mr Jones said earlier: “A big part of our job in experience development is supporting entrepreneurs, motivating them to innovate and helping them navigate around barriers that may exist.
“I’m confident we hit that mark with the speed-networking event.
Mr Jones added: “I had an entrepreneur text me afterwards to say, ‘There’s literally no chance I would have been able to speak to that many government departments in a year, let alone two hours. They were all very helpful. I sent out follow-up e-mails already, so let’s see how the follow-through is. Hopefully, it’s just as efficient’.
“We’re super-grateful to our partners in Government and the private sector, who are showing a commitment to innovation by proactively meeting with these entrepreneurs, to understand better what their visions are.
“We hope this ultimately means less red tape for home-grown ideas and more innovative experiences for visitors, that match-up with their vacation dreams.”
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