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Tourism authority board backs Hanbury

Bill Hanbury

The Bermuda Tourism Authority’s board has given its 100 per cent backing to CEO Bill Hanbury and his 39-strong team to fulfil its mission of turning around the Island’s tourism industry.

The board also defended giving Mr Hanbury a guaranteed performance incentive for his first year as part of his pay package when he became CEO in January 2014.

It comes as the authority’s tourism forecast for the next five years predicts an increase in spending of about $100 million by visitors from 2014 to 2017.

The report, which will be made public on July 15, highlights the need to drive up air lift and boost on-Island spending in order to hit that figure.

“The CEO’s performance incentive was guaranteed in year one only,” said deputy chair Jessica Mello.

“The rationale behind that is that it’s about a six-month lag between the time potential leisure visitors see our marketing and arrive in Bermuda and several years for group visitors. So it would be illogical to base the CEO’s performance in year one on the work of his predecessors.

“The BTA spent 2014 putting in place marketing, sales and product to drive year two results. So it’s not until year two that we can actually measure the CEO’s performance.

“It is worth noting that the CEO’s salary is below the median for like-sized Destination Marketing Organisations internationally; around 42 per cent of CEOs earn less, 58 per cent earn more than he does.”

The board’s chairman David Dodwell said he was confident that the hard work and dedication of the BTA’s staff would pay off.

“The first year, 2013, was all about setting up the new structure of the organisation and the passage of the BTA Act and 2014 was the transitional year,” he said.

“We have now changed almost every single relationship that the Department of Tourism had and that has taken a long time because of existing contracts.

“Expectations are very high and we sometimes expect things to happen overnight. I’m extremely optimistic we will get there.

“There has been more hotel developers in Bermuda in the last couple of years than the last 20 and these are brand names.

“There is a concerted effort to get more airlift and our focus is very much on increasing spending in Bermuda.”

Philip Barnett, who chairs the board’s compensation committee, hailed the work of the BTA for helping the Island to secure the America’s Cup, which will make a large contribution to tourism figures in coming years.

“As a board member I am significantly impressed by the team that has been created here and the way we are moving forward,” he said.

“It’s very reassuring to me to see the organisation running efficiently and I believe we are in a great place to use everything we have created to move the needle.

“There are performance incentives throughout the organisation. In Bill Hanbury I believe we got the best candidate.”