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BTA: $26m worth of advertising generated

Read all about it: visiting journalists praised Bermuda in a series of newspapers and magazines, including Tatler

The Bermuda Tourism Authority’s public relations officers generated editorial content worth more than $26 million in advertising during 2015.

The BTA said yesterday that much of that content came from 108 journalists who visited the island last year and worked with its sales and marketing team.

“BTA worked with partners and specific media outlets to introduce a new generation of travellers to Bermuda,” said chief sales and marketing officer Victoria Isley.

“The success we saw last year is a direct result of our team putting Bermuda in front of editorial decision makers.

“We had compelling stories to share about the re-emergence of Bermuda as a youthful, adventurous, culturally rich destination and the journalists who came to the island were able to experience island life for themselves.”

Earlier yesterday, junior tourism minister Kenneth Bascome had revealed details on the cost of the journalists’ visits in the House of Assembly, in response to questions from shadow minister Jamahl Simmons.

Mr Bascome said the BTA had allocated $15,000 on air tickets, $38,000 on accommodation, $30,000 on meals, $39,000 on excursions and amenities and $56,000 on transport to host the reporters.

Mr Bascome was unable to detail the terms and conditions attached, but pledged to provide the information to Parliament once he obtained it.

The BTA said Bermuda was named Best Island by Outside Magazine in its Best of Travel issue last year, Wall Street Journal called Bermuda the “new destination for adrenalin junkies” and the island was on the cover of the romance issue of Condé Nast Traveller.

Robb Report, Triathlete Magazine, Climbing Magazine and Scuba Diver Life were some of the other media outlets to feature Bermuda in at least one article in 2015. In North America alone, it is estimated consumers were reached more than one billion times with editorial content about Bermuda online, in print or otherwise, according to the BTA.

Last year, the authority spent $180,168 hosting journalists in Bermuda.

“When measured against the advertising value of $26.4 million, the BTA earned $146 of marketing exposure for every $1 it spent on journalists,” noted the BTA.

“Additionally, 92 per cent (or $165,149) of the money spent hosting journalists in 2015 was spent on-island at local restaurants, hotels, attractions and transport companies. In addition, some island stakeholders contributed to the efforts through complimentary hotel rooms or discounted pricing.

“The BTA’s public relations team is working to maintain its print and online momentum in 2016, while at the same, generating greater exposure for Bermuda on television.

“In the first quarter of 2016, more than $2 million in advertising value was realised; ten journalists visited over that three-month period. This summer it was revealed Travel & Leisure readers rated Bermuda one of the top ten islands in its annual World’s Best Awards Survey.”

Ms Isley added: “Public and media relations is one of the tools in BTA’s integrated marketing toolbox. Telling stories through third party partners is an excellent way to build credibility.

“We are proud of the results of our efforts, and grateful to the many local partners that work with us in sharing Bermuda’s mystique, character and hospitality with media partners and ultimately travellers.

“One of the most recent integrated media partnerships includes NBC’s 1st Look programme which will air again in New York on July 16.

“Leisure air arrivals year-over-year for 2016 are on a positive track, up 9 per cent through May 31.”