Bermuda must ‘keep up’ with lifestyle changes Brian Young
Bermuda needs to target busy professionals who are in need of a quick getaway, which is “just hours away, but world’s apart”.
This is the view of hotelier Brian Young who believes the key to Bermuda’s tourism success lies in the Island being seen as a weekend getaway rather than a vacation destination.
The managing director of Rosewood Tucker’s Point wants everyone to know they don’t have to fly far from the East Coast of America to “recharge their batteries”.
Mr Young says a marketing campaign highlighting “Bermuda’s competitive advantage” could help to ease the “hard slog” of hoteliers who struggle to fill hotel beds out-of-season.
He suggests new ‘relaxing getaway’ advertising could promote the winter-weather pleasures of reading a book by the fire or having a spa treatment.
Mr Young said Bermuda had to “keep up” with people’s change in lifestyles.
He said most people now took short breaks as they no longer had the time for seven or 14-day vacations.
He said: “We have become more of a getaway destination than a long-haul destination.
“This is a reality of vacation travel as people don’t have time to travel for long periods of time anymore.
“The most time they can usually take off from work is five days. We have to view this as an opportunity and position ourselves to take better advantage of this.”
Mr Young said attracting people to Bermuda for short breaks would start with promoting Bermuda’s proximity to the East Coast of America.
He said Bermuda was “completely different to places which take a day to get to” as visitors can “leave home at breakfast and be in Bermuda by lunch”.
Mr Young, who is a member of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said: “North East America is right on our doorstep, you can get here in 90 minutes to two hours.
“Business people who work in banking or finance often like to be close to home. In Bermuda, they are in a very similar time zone and if needs be they can quickly return to their own environment. We’re just hours away, but worlds apart.”
Mr Young said he remained optimistic about the future of tourism and hoped the whole Island would soon be seen as “the resort to visit”.
He added that he supported the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s efforts, but said the ongoing problem was “managing the seasonality”.
For this reason, Mr Young said he hoped the National Tourism Plan would highlight that we needed “more weapons in our arsenal to be able to compete”.
He said: “Bermuda cannot be all things to all people, but we have to give people options.
“We don’t have a lot of time but we must make time to get it right.”
Mr Young said he believed legalising casinos would be “very beneficial” as it would help Bermuda compete with other worldwide destinations.
He said he knew both individuals and groups took gambling into consideration while planning their vacations.
This comes after Premier Paula Cox indicated the possibility of a referendum on gaming as she outlined her plans for the next Parliamentary year in the Throne Speech.
Mr Young said: “Gaming is not going to happen tomorrow, but as a long-term initiative we endorse it completely.”
Mr Young also highlighted a need for Bermuda to better promote its culture and history and to “continue to play on the success of the PGA Grand Slam” by selling the Island as a golfing destination.