Love Festival cancellation had no effect on February arrivals - Minister
February's air arrivals were not impacted by the cancellation of the Love Festival Minister Patrice Minors told Parliament on Wednesday.
Ms Minors delivered a three-hour speech on her tourism portfolio outlining how the 201½012 Budget would be spent. A total of $30.2 million has been allocated to the Department, down $7.9 million, or 21 percent from the current fiscal year. The amount the Department spends on consultants has dropped 30 percent or $3.4 million. Travel has also been reduced, down $220,000. Ms Minors told the House of Assembly: “There was no discernable impact from cancelling the Love Festival.”
Instead of the festival, which cost $150,000 to throw, the Department held a Feel the Love month with several smaller events with local performers; three hundred visitors attended.
Ms Minors also announced promotional activities that would take place in the coming months. “The Bermuda Department of Tourism is hosting a series of retail travel agent events in March to promote the re-launch of JetBlue and the inaugural flight for Air Tran,” she said. “This is in keeping with the current Escape to Bermuda promotion.
“Gene Steede and the Tony Bari Band will be the featured local entertainment for two upcoming overseas events: the Bermuda dinner and presentation at the Baltimore National Aquarium on March 17 and the Bermuda dinner and presentation at the Georgia Aquarium on March 23. In addition to the above each evening will conclude with a performance from the H&H Gombey's.”
She added that 60 US travel agents had attended a promotional event in Boston earlier this week.
While the Island will no longer have an advertising agency Ms Minors said it continues to have contracts with public relations firms such as Lou Hammond, Icrossing Inc, Robert Danes, Rosster PR and Destination inc. The Department will also continue work out of its New York office headed by Ann Shute. The New York office employs 17 people, 15 of whom are Bermudian she said.
In order to put local music in the forefront and improve Bermuda's nightlife she added the Department would be working with the local group Chewstick. Ms Minors spoke about the importance of international coverage of the Island. She said bringing journalists to Bermuda resulted in features expanding on the Island's charm.
Brides Magazine recently proclaimed Bermuda has one of the most idyllic honeymoon beaches in the world She also announced the Visitor Service Bureaux would have reduced winter hours next year in Dockyard and Somerset.
Ms Minors said the decision was not taken lightly but due to the cost cutting requirements Dockyards VSB would open on Saturday and Sunday and St George's VSB would open Wednesday and Saturday from January to March. The Hamilton VSB will not be impacted.