BTA warns it will have to cut back in crisis
The island's tourism authority will suffer cutbacks to stay afloat after the industry was demolished by the Covid-19 pandemic, it warned yesterday.
Paul Telford, the Bermuda Tourism Authority chairman, said the organisation was “taking steps to stem projected budget shortfalls caused by Covid-19”.
He added that cost-saving measures were “needed to preserve the BTA's financial resources so we can lead the restart of Bermuda's tourism economy out of this crisis”.
Mr Telford said: “We have shared the challenges with our employees and are in discussions to finalise a broad plan of strategic cost-cutting efforts.”
Mr Telford was speaking after David Burt, the Premier, said the industry had been “decimated” by the worldwide disruption caused by the disease.
In a press release today, the BTA announced its board would forego 20 per cent of its 2020 stipend and BTA employees across all levels of the organisation in both New York and Bermuda offices have agreed to workweek reductions of one or two days, with corresponding pay decreases.
A spokeswoman said C-suite executives would maintain their full workweek schedule, despite also having salary cutbacks.
She said the moves would preserve cash but maintain the level of business continuity needed to “put tourism at the forefront of Bermuda's economic revival when the crisis subsides”.
Mr Telford added today: “We don't yet know when the tourism recovery will begin, but it's critical the board prepares the organisation to play a leading role in getting Bermuda back on track.
He said staffing adjustments would be reviewed as the crisis unfolds and added: “Implementing shared sacrifice at every level allows the Bermuda Tourism Authority to retain high-performing talent and business continuity in lieu of layoffs.
“Marketing Bermuda is the BTA's core mission. We must save as much cash as possible now so we're ready to robustly sell and market our destination when the time comes to rally again.”
Data for March indicates a 70 per cent drop in air visitors for the month and, since the crisis began, direct spending losses for the local economy have risen to more than $58 million when air and cruise visitor estimates are combined through April 14.
The latest data on Covid-19's tourism impact was shared with stakeholders during an Industry Resilience Roundtable on April 2.
• UPDATE: This story was amended to include information from a press releaes issued by the Bermuda Tourism Authority