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East End pushes cultural tourism

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Plan of attack: Community leaders in St George’s hope to bring a gunpowder re-enactment to the town as part of efforts to attract more visitors (File photo by Nicola Muirhead)

A fresh focus on the heritage and history of St George’s will be championed this year to boost visitor numbers.

Corporation of St George’s leaders, together with local MPs, will concentrate efforts on promoting cultural tourism in the East End as well as playing up its unique UNESCO status.

Community leaders are in talks with the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution to hold a gunpowder re-enactment in the town in August as part of the new initiative.

Mayor Garth Rothwell believes the re-enactment will complement a series of cultural events and activities designed to highlight St George’s history.

“The Corporation and the Tourism Authority, together with a lot of stakeholders, have already held three meetings focused on cultural tourism and our UNESCO status,” Mr Rothwell said. “There will also be public meetings held on January 26 and 27.

“We have major historical links with the UK and the US and the remnants of that still exist today in St George and St David’s.

“We recently started a new tour of our local forts to tap in to this and that is also the thinking behind the gunpowder re-enactment. Not many people know anything about this very significant event in Bermuda’s history.

“Many do not realise that the range and age of guns on display in our forts surpasses places like the Tower of London and the Imperial War Museum. We don’t have to build anything, the British Government spent money on that some time ago. What we need to do is stop it from deteriorating and make people aware of what we have.”

Deputy Mayor, Quinnell Francis, added: “This year we will be looking to observe some of the world UNESCO days, such as poetry day on March 21.

“We are also looking at educating our community and going into schools to talk about what the UNESCO status means, and bring a sense of pride back into the community.”

The Corporation leaders unveiled their plan of attack for the coming year after one of “the biggest and most successful” New Year’s firework displays.

MP Kenneth Bascome said: “The feedback I received about the New Year’s Eve celebrations was overwhelmingly positive. People said it was the best and the biggest firework display to have ever taken place in Bermuda.

“This year is all about following on from that and bringing St George alive.

“We need to make residents and visitors aware of our history and the role St George played right at the start.”

This year’s programme of events will include the UNESCO poetry day on March 21, an April reading in the Somers Gardens and an “Oldie Goldies Night” in Town Square in June.

The town will host the start of the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby this summer.

Work has also begun to renovate the public toilet facilities in Town Square, while community leaders received a boost with the news that the passenger ferry, Millennium, will continue to operate between Dockyard and St George’s during the cruise season.

Mr Rothwell said he hoped additional ferry services would be given to St George’s in the summer timetable.

“Having the Millennium operating into St George again in 2015 is a significant boost,” he added. “But we are also hoping that Government will provide for an extra trip in the morning on weekdays, from the two trips that the Millennium makes.

“We would also like to see an additional afternoon service on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Mayor of St George's Garth Rothwell (File photo by Mark Tatem)
MP Kenneth Bascome (File photo by Nicola Muirhead)