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UK tourism blitz hailed as success

A drive to attract UK tourists to Bermuda has been hailed a triumph by Tourism bosses and hoteliers.

And last week’s series of roadshows in London and other English cities has even won the backing of British Airways executives, who had earlier criticised the Island for failing to market itself effectively amid increasing competition.

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell, along with representatives from the Bermuda Hotel Association, spent four days on a media and marketing campaign blitz, hosting promotional events in London, Birmingham and Manchester. More than 200 qualified agents and a further 120 media representatives attended the events, which pushed the National Tourism Plan’s ‘So Much More’ campaign and highlighted the diversity of Bermuda as a holiday destination.

Open discussions and networking events were held to encourage tour operators to promote sales, marketing and PR strategies to proactively drive further sales to Bermuda. Hotels taking part in the drive included the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and Fairmont Southampton, Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa, The Reefs Resort & Club, Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Rosedon Hotel.

Mr Crockwell, who returned from the UK at the weekend following the whirlwind tour, said he was confident the campaign would result in an upswing in the number of visitors coming from Britain. Currently, around 23,000 UK-based visitors fly to Bermuda, making up approximately ten percent of all air arrivals.

“The UK market produced an estimated economic value and visitor expenditure of $35 million in 2012,” Mr Crockwell said.

“We have ambitious growth targets with our partners in 2013. In particular, this market has significant potential to deliver throughout our shoulder periods, working towards making Bermuda a 12 month destination, as well as increase the length of stay which is typically twice as long as the US visitor.

Mr Crockwell said a new campaign highlighting a range of amenities available to tourists will appeal to a wider audience and should grab the attention of holidaymakers looking for more than “just beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters”.

“We have since invested in PR, advertising, sales and marketing strategies within the media marketplace to raise awareness and encourage people to visit this wonderful destination,” Mr Crockwell said.

“We have had excellent engagement and fruitful conversations and ideas from all of our trade partners that will be implemented in the coming weeks and months. I would like to thank all our partners for their ongoing commitment and support in the UK and look forward to celebrating our combined sales results in coming months. We are already seeing an increase on pacing which is encouraging indeed.”

The campaign appears to have won over previously sceptical British Airways chiefs who had previously slammed Tourism staff for failing to promote the Island.

Last week sales manager Keith Chuter suggested that Bermuda did not have a brand recognition and questioned if the Island was providing value for money.

But last night the sales manager said he was confident that the UK market could expand.

”We are all aligned in terms of the way forward and committed to doing everything we can to put competitive tactical airfares in place to support the aggressive goals and achieve the agreed objectives,” Mr Chuter said.

“We see Bermuda as a quality and attractive alternative to the established competitive destinations of Dubai and the Indian Ocean. We believe and are confident that Bermuda can increase its market share out of the UK and look forward to a productive 2013 together.”

The airline is now planning a ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ deal for Bermuda-bound passengers and also team Bermuda up with New York as part of a two-centre destination package. The strategy hinges on the belief that visitors will travel to shop in New York and then come to Bermuda for rest and relaxation.

Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert also appluaded the initiative.

“I totally support the Minister and the BHA, for going to the UK to continue to spread the news that Bermuda is ‘So Much More’,” he said.

“We also appreciate Mr Keith Chuter, sales manager for British Airways for making a commitment to find competitive tactical airfares to achieve everyone’s objectives.”

Tourism Minister Shawn

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Published April 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 21, 2013 at 11:11 pm)

UK tourism blitz hailed as success

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