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World Series will have ‘local flavour’

America's Cup banners and flags decorate Hamilton City. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The America’s Cup will be a Bermudian event, according to communications director Peter Rusch.

Speaking about the upcoming Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event, scheduled to take place between October 16-18, Mr Rusch said that Bermudians are involved at every level.

“There are a ton of Bermudian performers and DJs involved in the opening ceremony on the Friday night, the Saturday night concert has international and local flavour and throughout our offices and all levels of the production of this event Bermudians are involved at every level,” he said.

“I think the number of Bermudians involved in this event, whether as vendors or contractors or involved in the construction project down at Dockyard, it’s absolutely massive. There’s a lot of Bermudians involved in the America’s Cup and I think that’s going to be on full display. That’s something that’s only going to grow between now and 2017.”

He added that the vendors involved in the event were selected by a committee based on the idea of bringing a “Bermudian flair” to the proceedings.

“We are expecting a good turnout of visitors, along with people that our partners and sponsors bring in, so we wanted a wide selection that really represented Bermuda well.” he said.

While the event will essentially close Front Street to traffic for a weekend, Mr Rusch said he didn’t feel there would be a shortage of parking spaces for spectators.

He also said that the ferry schedule would not be negatively affected by the racing on the Great Sound, explaining: “The racecourse is in the Great Sound, but its not the entire Great Sound. It’s a relatively small square box that will be set up and kept clear of spectator boats and ferries.”

Concessions manager Chris Garland, meanwhile, said he believed additional late-night ferries could be put on over the weekend to help members of the public looking to attend the opening ceremony and concert.

“As long as people are smart and have a plan about how to go home, we really shouldn’t be stressing about the parking,” he said.

Asked if weather could prove a problem given that the Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t end until the end of October, Mr Rusch said: “Sailing is an outdoor sport. It’s a sport that relies on the weather, so we are well accustomed to making accommodations for weather.”

Mr Garland also urged the public to download the America’s Cup app, which not only features information, videos and pictures, but also any weather updates that may influence the event.

Unpleasant weather has already altered America’s Cup plans once this year, with a day of World Series races in Portsmouth being cancelled because of high winds.

<p>Increase in hotel bookings for AC</p>

Hotels have seen an increase in bookings for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event in October.

According to Bermuda Hotel Association CEO Stephen Todd, hoteliers have reported some increase in bookings for the period and are working with the Bermuda Tourism Authority to promote available rooms and rates.

“We have started to see some increase, but our members are working with the BTA to ensure that people are aware of the available room capacity for that time.

“We are trying to get the world out that we still have available rooms during the event.”

The World Series event is scheduled to take place on the Great Sound on October 17 and 18 this year, with festivities formally starting in Hamilton on October 16.

BTA spokesman Glenn Jones said that the authority has launched “a variety of simultaneous efforts” to bring visitors to the Island for the event including event marketing, influencer marketing, outdoor advertising, print advertising, e-mail marketing and social media.

“New information ACEA recently made public regarding how spectators can view races from the water as well as the details of the concert experience are now helping us explain the full fan experience to potential visitors,” he added.

Among the promotional efforts are the #RaceToBermuda launch event in New York featuring Team Oracle sailors, advertising in the New Yorker and New York Times, a billboard in Chicago and a yacht club tour throughout the United States.

“In the meantime, it’s important to mention how pleased the BTA is to see NBC Sports air the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in the United States next month,” Mr Jones added. “This is unexpected additional exposure for Bermuda as a stunning TV backdrop for the sailing action, while at the same time giving us another opportunity to introduce the island to a new generation of travellers.”