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Shareholders of tourism

In the ongoing quest to boost tourism, which would enhance jobs so badly needed to support our economy, it is vital to reflect on the quality of our product, which over the years has undergone many changes, especially in the area of ambassadorial attitudes which was a central component in making Bermuda a special place in the business.

During the golden years of throbbing local entertainment throughout most of our hotels, our industry thrived, not because Bermuda had no serious problems to sort out, that included grossly unjust social conditions, but despite challenges, countless visitors left our shores, anxious to spread the news that the warmth of the Bermudian people, was an experience in itself.

Apart from beautiful beaches and of course back then, quieter roads, our island was a true symbol of tranquility.

However, most important was a common thread that passed through every section of our communities, that no one was really exempt from being a shareholder in tourism, whether you worked in the industry or not.

Without the Bermudian people, we would have been just a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, with a pleasing climate along with lush foliage.

It took dedication, commitment, and a goodwill ambassador spirit to rise above negatives of that period.

We may not be able to recapture the magic moments of our musical ambassadors such as the Talbot Brothers, the Four deuces, the Coral Islanders and many other outstanding Bermudian entertainers of the 50s, but we should be able to make tourism everybody's business.

The Governments new tourism authority, has an uphill climb to rekindle an industry that has had its share of problems in recent years, largely through world economy ups and downs, and changes in what tourists are seeking that will suit their pockets.

Bermuda has always been a class resort, and as such, attracted a considerable number of affluent business mainly from America.

However even the great United States encountered dark patches of financial troubles with corruption uncovers in several large companies, that resulted in thousands losing life savings through greed by top executives.

Some actually went to prison. Since Bermuda enjoyed considerable business especially with the east coast, Americans were not travelling and spending as much and our industry felt the pinch.

The shaky economic period saw the demise of land mark clothing stores in the City of Hamilton as tourism officials wrestled with new ways to keep our industry alive, which over the years formed the basis for keeping the wheels of our economy turning.

Bermuda still has much to offer as a first class resort, but there are concerns about changing attitudes.

With increasing competition from other resorts, we need to protect qualities that put us out front as a super destination during the golden years.

For example it was most encouraging recently to see the polished professional manner of a doorman at the Southampton Fairmont, who gave service that would surely make any guest feel as though they were royalty.

Without a doubt there are other doorman at other establishments who equally perform their duties that can only be a credit to Bermuda.

The point here is that although the new Tourism Authority are engaged in doing their utmost to get out visitor numbers at higher levels, those actively in the industry will not be able to paint the whole picture of an island, where people really do care about making our guests feel welcomed, throughout their stay.

We would be living in denial, if we failed to recognise that too many motorists drive and ride on our roads with an almost kamikaze attitude.

As shareholders of the industry, because we all benefit when it is successful, everyone should at least be mindful that our basic attitudes could provide a positive or negative experience for a visitor.

The best promotion the Island can get is when someone leaves, willing to spread the word that the Bermuda experience is special.

It is accepted that much has changed since those golden years, but that is no reason to abandon the wonderful spirit of those musical ambassadors, and other others, who helped to place Bermuda on the map as place to experience hospitality at its very best.

Improved attitudes will make us all better shareholders in the business that could get our economy moving again.

Photo by Akil Simmons Tourists Viki Trumpess and Tom Gates ventured out to experience the conditions on Elbow Beach during Tropical Storm Gabrielle in September in this file photo.

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Published March 29, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 28, 2014 at 9:01 pm)

Shareholders of tourism

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