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America’s Cup may herald ‘glory days’ return

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Businesses involved in the hospitality sector need to be prepared for the tens of thousands of extra visitors expected on the island during next year's America's Cup.

And while the event is regarded as the pinnacle moment within the coming 12 months, the island should also expect to experience some of its tourism “glory days of the past”.

Those were words used by Bill Hanbury, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, as he opened the 17th Annual Butterfield & Vallis food service trade show at the Hamilton Princess.

About 40 suppliers to food wholesale distributor Butterfield & Vallis used the event to meet with clients, such as hotels and restaurants, and showcase everything from daily necessities to the latest food trends.

Spencer Butterfield, chief operating officer at Butterfield and Vallis, said: “We are proud to provide chefs with the ingredients that produce the creative dishes that you see on menus all across the island.

“We are encouraging the hospitality industry to be proactive in their readiness for the spectacular America's Cup racing in June.”

That sentiment was boosted by Mr Hanbury, who said the island's tourism economy was recovering after many years of decline. He said the latest numbers on air arrivals and hotel occupancy were the best in almost ten years.

“The entire island can feel that sense of energy that is coming out of the tourism economy,” he said. “This double-digit growth we are seeing is better than any other Caribbean nation or any destination on the East Coast. We are predicting that 2017 will mirror some of Bermuda tourism's glory days of the past. There will be no shoulder season. Be prepared to enjoy the ride as we go back to being one of the pre-eminent, luxury tourism destinations in the world.”

Referring to the America's Cup as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the island, he said: “As the world comes to Bermuda for the America's Cup, over that five weeks we are expecting tens of thousands of air arrivals. We could have over 100,000 people arrive here by sea.”

Mr Hanbury said the Butterfield & Vallis team was working hard to prepare for the event, and help others to prepare.

“Butterfield & Vallis is a terrific corporate citizen for our island. They don't know how to say ‘no', every time you ask them to do something they always say ‘yes'.”

The trade show was themed “Be Prepared”. Alan Hughes, general manager of Butterfield & Vallis, said it was a way to elevate awareness of the America's Cup. “It's important for the island to prepare for this excellent opportunity. Hotels and restaurants are going to be full,” he said.

“It behoves us to show that we are ready. It's six months or so away, we have to start now. It's too big a prize to get wrong. So the first thing is about awareness, and the second is to show the products that are available from suppliers.

“People are excited. There is a dawning realisation that it [America's Cup] is going to happen. We are hoping that a large number of the guests will want to come back and visit the island again.”

Healthy choices: Spencer Butterfield, left, chief operating officer of Butterfield & Vallis, with Bill Hanbury, CEO of the BTA, at yesterday's trade show (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Bruce MacArthur, Northeast Sr. Regional Sales Manager, of Smithfield Foods, looks on as they serve up a slice, at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Sakina Ible, customer service, and Spencer Butterfield, Chief Operating Officer, of Butterfield & Vallis at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Mourad Errada, South East Account Manager for Overseas Food Trading LTD. showcasing his Bridor de France brand, at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Edwin A. Burleigh II, Regional Sales Manager of White Toque, at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Joe Delgado, Purchaser, of Sid Wainer & Son, placing a mini watermelon at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Kevin Rhyno, VP Sales & Marketing Wines, of Burrows & Lightbourn, pours a glass of his best, at the Butterfield & Vallis trade show at Hamilton Princess (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published October 20, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated October 20, 2016 at 11:32 am)

America’s Cup may herald ‘glory days’ return

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