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Tourist bus company offers ‘virtual tours’

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A Sandys bus tour company severely impacted by the pandemic is offering “virtual tours” to whip up some business.

Titan Express, which has depends heavily on cruise ship passengers for its income, was shut down for three months during April, May and June, when its seven employees were laid off.

Rashida Godwin, who started the business four years ago, is not dwelling on her misfortune.

She has launched a series of online offerings that capture the historic and cultural essence of Titan's tours, and is gearing up to survive in the firm belief that better times are ahead.

Titan has five 24-seater buses and one wheelchair-accessible 14-seater, which would normally be ferrying hundreds of cruise ship passengers around the island at this time of year.

Right now, work is limited to providing summer camp transportation.

Ms Godwin is adapting to the absence of cruise visitors and next week, she will host the first of two webinars with a theme around the historical importance of Cup Match. The second day of the holiday is Mary Prince Day for the first time this year.

Entitled “Emancipation stories of Mary Prince and the Friendly Societies”, the webinar is sponsored by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and in partnership with the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. The approximately two-hour webinar is scheduled for 8pm on both July 16 and 23. Tickets cost $10.

Ms Godwin said: “People get caught up in the game and having fun, but there is so much history involved with Cup Match and it's good to get people interested in it.

“The first part of the webinar will be about Mary Prince and her history and how her enslaved narrative was given in London in the 1830s and how that was significant to us in Bermuda gaining emancipation in 1834.

“Then we'll talk about Cup Match itself and another part will about the Friendly Societies, which helped black people when they first came out of slavery, because the Government did not have anything for them.”

Last year, the Mary Prince bus tours were consistently oversubscribed, popular with tourists and residents alike, and some of them want to do it all over again online, Ms Godwin said.

She added: “We keep a database of all the people who went on the tours and we reached out to all of them to say we're having these Zoom webinars.

“Many of them were really excited and wanted to do the tour again online, including some from overseas.”

Next month, Titan will offer a Mary Prince book study as a five-part webinar entitled “Why Mary Prince matters”, on August 4, 11, 18, 25 and 27.

“In September, I'm going to start up again with those tours on the bus,” Ms Godwin said. “They are pretty popular with locals, especially Bermudians and people who have just arrived on the island to work and want to find out more about Bermuda.”

Ms Godwin has written off this cruise ship season, but is upbeat for the future.

“Bermuda's a beautiful place and an easy sell,” she said. “Tourists love it. They will be back. I have a lot of faith in the cruise ships coming back, maybe not immediately, but it will get back to normal or even better.”

She is confident that Titan will survive the ongoing rocky period.

“The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has been really helpful in ensuring that we will be up and running for next season.

“We'll be ready. This too shall pass.”

For more information, go to www.titantoursbermuda.com

Virtual tours: Rashida Godwin, of Titan Express (Photograph supplied)
Tourist focus: Titan Express buses were off the road for three months (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 10, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 10, 2020 at 7:57 am)

Tourist bus company offers ‘virtual tours’

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