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Divine intervention sought as Dockyard gears up for season

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Attendees at the Wedco breakfast at Bone Fish Bar & Grill listened intently to the various presentations (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

West End Development Corporation general manager Andrew Dias called for divine intervention as he spoke about his expectations for the tourism season at Royal Naval Dockyard.

Last year, cruise ships made 183 visits to Dockyard, leading to a 30 per cent increase in visitors year-over-year.

Cruise ship passengers spent $150 million, a 46 per cent increase compared with 2022.

But a further 39 cruise ship visits were cancelled due to stormy weather.

This year, with fewer occasional callers, some 166 cruise ship visits are on the Dockyard schedule for full year 2024.

“That is still a very good number,” Mr Dias said.

“The trends have been that tourists are willing to spend more for the products and services we are offering. I see people looking for an interactive experience, and they’re willing to pay for it.”

The Wedco boss, who doubles as CEO of the Bermuda Land Development Company, added: “I am expecting the Good Lord to give us some better weather, and we won’t have big ships that cannot call to Bermuda – and everyone inside and outside of Dockyard is able to get their opportunity for some of the financial rewards that come from the tourist industry.”

Mr Dias was speaking on Friday following the annual Wedco breakfast, which attracted some 200 attendees who heard from a variety of speakers at Bone Fish Bar & Grill.

New at Dockyard for 2024 is an expanded vendor programme that features 10 aspiring entrepreneurs who have been provided with a platform for growth for their emerging businesses; enhancements to the Fun Zone including a new playground and minor improvements to the splash pad area; the opening of Dockyard Café in the premises formerly occupied by Dockyard Pastry Shop; the addition of a sushi bar at Café Amici; FryDays transforming into an inflatable bounce park; and the addition of a digital directory to the Dockyard information booth.

Included in a wide variety of weekly events that run from May until September, a new offering is the Arts & Craft Beer tour featuring artists as well as Dockyard Brewing Company.

The West End venue will also feature Fight Night, Summer Splash, Wet Fete, and will be the finish line for the annual End-to-End charity fundraiser.

Destination Dockyard has been discontinued after rainy weather last year underlined the uncertainty around hosting an outdoor event.

Speakers at the breakfast included Dennie O’Connor of Snorkel Park, who said 1,500 tickets have been sold for the Collie Buddz concert on July 31.

Attendees learnt from Khadijah Shakir of the Bermuda Tourism Authority that Vegan Fest will be back for a second year at Dockyard.

That event will be held on Sunday August 25, while two cruise ships are scheduled to be in port, featuring vendors, live entertainment, a fun castle, and complementary yoga classes.

Daniel Marshall, of the Top 10 Bermuda advertising agency, spoke about his firm’s innovative project that will see 100,000 scratch cards distributed to cruise ship visitors in order to incentivise spending at Dockyard businesses.

The breakfast wrapped up with a most impressive performance by magician and mentalist Alex Pandrea, who earned an enthusiastic ovation.

The presentation at the Wedco breakfast at Bone Fish Bar & Grill played to a packed crowd (Photograph by Duncan Hall)
Andrew Dias, Wedco general manager was one of the organisation’s annual breakfast speakers (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Dennie O’Connor of Snorkel Park at the Wedco breakfast (Photograph by Duncan Hall)
Khadijah Shakir of the Bermuda Tourism Authority at the Wedco breakfast (Photograph by Duncan Hall)
Magician and mentalist Alex Pandrea at the Wedco breakfast (Photograph by Duncan Hall)

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Published April 08, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 09, 2024 at 8:05 am)

Divine intervention sought as Dockyard gears up for season

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