Bermuda’s attractions back open for business
An outdoor dining festival, staycation promotions and sports events help to signal the island's attractions are open for business, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday.
Glenn Jones, the organisation's interim chief executive, added that the attractions were expected to take place between now and the end of the year “safely and responsibly”.
He said: “These are events we hope will either inspire travel or delight a visitor who discovers these events after they already have chosen to come to Bermuda.
“Just as importantly, we hope these events and promotions inspire residents to take part because consistently, visitors tell us their experience is enhanced when they encounter locals in these kinds of settings.”
Mr Jones pointed out that the calendar was subject to change given the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic, but that it included the sandcastle competition during the Labour Day weekend, the Bermuda Championship golf tournament and Gold Cup regatta in October as well as festive favourites over the Christmas season.
He added: “At the Bermuda Tourism Authority we've tried our best to augment the Covid uncertainty with a series of promotional activities that we hope play some role in jump-starting aspects of the tourism economy.
“For example, we're leveraging Bermuda's partnership with the US Open Championship.”
Today is the launch of Bermuda Racquet Week, which will be marked with an event at the WER Joell Tennis Stadium, in Pembroke, in partnership with the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association and Gosling's.
Michael Wolfe, the BLTA president, said that despite a challenging time, the sport had “thrived”.
He added: “Tennis has provided that much welcome distraction to many players and non-players, more recently visitors to our shores.
“We see Bermuda Racquet Week as a continuation of these activities.
“As so often happens when watching events such as the US Open, either live or on media, so many of us are inspired to participate.
“I would encourage everyone to use that inspiration to take advantage of the BTA's Racquet Week offers and spend a few hours at the WER Joell tennis stadium.”
Mr Jones said that, largely thanks to the reopening of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club today, 61 per cent of the island's hotel inventory would be back in business at the start of September.
He added: “We have a long way to go, of course, but that's a remarkable achievement given the reopening of our economy just two months ago.
“It means a lot of people made suddenly jobless by the pandemic are going to have the chance to get back to work.” The BTA launched a Staycation Month for residents to experience any of the ten participating hotels across Bermuda at “locals only” rates in September.
He added: “This is the right time to enjoy your own island, support Bermudian jobs and help the country's economic recovery.”
Stephen Todd, the chief executive of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said “a special thank you” to residents who had already taken part in staycation offers.
He added: “It has been very key, given where we find ourselves both domestically and internationally in terms of an industry.
“It's helped us tremendously from a property standpoint to get a number of our fellow Bermudians and guest workers back to work as quickly as possible.
“It's clearly part of the lifeblood that's going to not only assist us with getting the hotel industry back up and running, but most importantly, it's a valuable contribution at a time when we need it the most.”
Mr Jones said an Alfresco Dining Festival offered another way to support jobs.
He explained: “From a tourism perspective, dining outside is highly valued by travellers, it's a must-have, and Bermuda can win in this space long into the year, because our climate is mild, certainly for someone visiting from the UK, Canada or the US northeast.”
Mr Jones said that the ten-day festival would start with a “distinctly Bermudian dinner under the stars” at Fort St Catherine on September 17, produced by Belcario Thomas, an entrepreneur, and Just Dreams Event Planning and Decor.
Cyniqua Anderson, owner of Just Dreams, said that the event would include St George's vendors as well as live music and it was hoped there would be Gombey performances.
She pointed out that tables of eight will be spaced out at safe distances and groups were encouraged to book together when tickets are made available soon on Ptix, although tables of two will also be offered.
Planning is also under way for a seafood festival led by Gosling's in St George's.