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Collectively we will make event a success

Optimistic for future: Winfield believes this can be an exceptional year for the island (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

At the start of Bermuda’s year of the America’s Cup we take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who has been a part of the successful preparations so far, and all who continue to work tirelessly towards a quality experience for the benefit of everyone in Bermuda.

This includes, but is not limited to, the 155 Bermudians who worked on the construction project of Cross Island, as well as the many involved in construction projects as Dockyard is restored for the long-term enjoyment of Bermuda.

In addition, the dozens of suppliers whose employees drive to and from Dockyard daily with provisions for the teams, the local chefs and crane operators, support crew and administrators, the local businesses that are going the extra mile to ensure the success of the America’s Cup experience.

And as Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development says, thousands of Bermudians and Bermuda taxpayers have invested time, money and energy to make the 2017 America’s Cup an event of which we can all be proud.

More than a thousand schoolchildren have benefited from youth sailing and education programmes in our schools.

Internationally influential corporations have taken note of Bermuda’s progress and chosen to invest in us, resulting in our future economic growth and more jobs.

We have seen major international investors put their money into new hotel projects; Bermuda welcomes this.

This was only made possible by the collective effort of Bermuda’s people, who are proud of our island home and who focus on the success of the island.

This is the collective national pride that will grow to full strength as we get closer to the America’s Cup experience.

The great thing about national pride and unity is that it can continue long after the event, and Bermuda’s future will be better for it.

We have already benefited from extensive media coverage that has demonstrated the beauty and friendliness of our island to people around the world. People we hope to welcome one day as our visitors.

We have received tremendous interest from sponsors who will do business with Bermuda in years to come.

Four of the six America’s Cup teams have relocated to Bermuda with their families, renting our homes, attending our schools, buying groceries, fuel, retail products and all of the everyday services that Bermuda businesses offer.

This has been feeding into our economy months before the actual event.

The world is watching our success closely, and we can be proud of all that we have done so far and even more proud of what is yet to come, remembering that we all have a part to play in the success of our future.

Bermuda’s progress to date reinforces our confidence that we will deliver a spectacular event in May and June.

As the tight-knit community that we are, who come together in adversity such as hurricanes and humanitarian need, so too we can come together in success, celebrating our shared values and hopes for a brighter future.

We have come a long way in a very short time and we have much to be proud of. And there is much more to be done before we are ready.

Given the same commitment we have seen so far, the determination to get things done, the shared pride in those accomplishments, we can make 2017 a truly exceptional year for Bermuda.

Mike Winfield is chief executive officer of America’s Cup Bermuda