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BTA: New sailing events to attract visitors

A series of international sailing events taking place over the next two years will highlight Bermuda as a major player in “nautical tourism”, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

The BTA this week released a sailing calender showing a number of events taking place between now and the 2017 America’s Cup, including the Newport Bermuda Race, the RC 44 Championship Tour next month and the Flying Phantom Series in November.

The calender was released at a hospitality industry presentation about the America’s Cup, and will be used as part of the BTA’s sports tourism and America’s Cup #RaceToBermuda marketing strategies to attract sailing enthusiasts to the Island.

Several events will be coming to Bermuda for the first time, with the BTA saying the races will help to bring new visitors during a traditionally slow period.

BTA chief executive Bill Hanbury said: “Our sailing calendar represents one of the first tourism industry legacy benefits of the America’s Cup. We have new sailing events because Bermuda is part of the global sailing conversation in a way it wasn’t before. We’re working with our stakeholders to make sure we seize the opportunity to win new regattas and then we need to keep those events coming back year after year.

“RC 44 in March, the Flying Phantom in November and the Moth Regatta in December are all examples of how sailing can help us smooth out the shoulder season. We worked particularly hard on securing the RC 44 event because with the leadership of its namesake Sir Russell Coutts, RC 44 is quickly becoming one of the most elite, most sought after regattas on the planet.”

Team ORACLE USA sailor Tom Slingsby, who helped the Phantom Series choose Bermuda, said: “I think Bermuda is really going to come into the world spotlight as an amazing tourist destination, an amazing sailing destination and somewhere the America’s Cup could be for a long time. It’s such a beautiful place — great people, great sailing conditions. I can’t wait for the next few years.”