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BTA: Positive progress in sports tourism

The National Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre. (photo by Glenn Tucker)

The Bermuda Tourism Authority and the National Sports Centre have come together in an effort to bring international athletes to the Island to train.

In a statement this afternoon, a BTA spokesman said that since April, ten visiting sports organisations have either committed to, or are in the final stages of committing to, a programme in Bermuda at the centre (NSC).

Pat Phillip-Fairn, BTA chief product and experiences development officer, said: “We believe we have a solid foundation with the NSC to grow sports tourism, particularly in the winter months.

“Less than five months into the agreement we have a diverse array of sports, from a variety of countries. We think this bodes well for the future as we work to increase the volume of business and hone in on teams looking to train during spring break.”

This summer, the Island hosted Red Bull Free Dive safety training, high school field hockey and college field hockey as part of the agreement, while post-collegiate lacrosse is scheduled to take place this weekend.

The statement said that mature talks are under way with a Canadian university to host track and field training in December, while the Danish Olympic Swim Team has signed a deposit agreement with a local hotel in advance of training in February.

Next year, the NSC will host post-collegiate rugby, high school football and high school field hockey through the partnership, while the Red Bull Free Dive safety training will return to the Island next summer.

Overall the ten events are expected to bring an estimated 435 visitors to the island from the United States, Canada and Denmark.

Interim CEO of the NSC Bernie Asbell said: “This partnership is a win-win-win for Bermuda, the BTA and the NSC. Our priority remains on the local audience, but this partnership allows us to supplement our facility use, increase revenue in the visitor market and offset the cost to operate the facility. We can showcase the Island as a training and competition destination.

“We see real growth potential. For example we’re targeting Olympic swim teams in Canada, Denmark and Finland, educating them about our outdoor pool and its similarities to the Rio Olympic Games in terms of time zone and climate. We’re able to make a strong case, especially when our partners in the hotel sector can offer preferential rates.”

A spokesman said the NSC is also nurturing working relationships with CoCo Reef, Grotto Bay and Rosemont hotels, and is looking to work more regularly with other hotels as demand grows.