Speaking to Selling Travel just days after the British Overseas Territory was hit by Hurricane Fiona, a category 4 hurricane which caused little disruption to the island’s infrastructure, Tracy Berkeley, the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s interim CEO, confirmed that the island is up and running and that hotels, ferry services and the L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA) reopened shortly after the storm.
She said: “We are very well prepared for weather events like this and we are so thankful for our reef line which really helps to protect us. The campaign is a timely reminder of how strong and resilient the people of Bermuda are. Everyone is looking out for one another and the people really want to make sure you are taken care of.”
Berkeley, who is the first female leader of the organisation, is keen to highlight Bermuda’s authenticity and raise the island’s profile in the UK, saying: “We haven’t been as present in the market as we should be, so one of the things that we’re looking to do is build on that and create frictionless travel.
And when asked what sets Bermuda apart, Berkeley is quick to brush off comparisons with the Caribbean, saying: “I think we get lumped into being a Caribbean destination, but Bermuda is a boutique island and when people get off the plane in Bermuda, especially if they are a first-time visitor, they are pleasantly surprised by how unique it is.
“The new campaign really showcases the destination from Bermudian’s themselves. Our people really want to give visitors a local experience. It’s not uncommon to be invited to someone’s house or to a raft-up, where residents link boats for an on-the-water party.
“We have beautiful beaches, pristine marine life, a vibrant culinary scene and a great historic tapestry that people can discover on their own, through a tour or just talking to locals on the island.”
As well as a direct flight with British Airways, the tourist board is keen to promote Bermuda as a twin centre with New York.
Says Berkeley: “Bermuda is a 90 minute flight from New York, so we’re really trying to encourage people to have that shopping experience in the city and then come to Bermuda to decompress and relax.”
“We have a whole ethos about making Bermuda an easier destination, not only to get to, but to sell.”
Sustainability is also high in Berkeley’s agenda, with green initiatives such as battery cars already in place.
“Sustainability is in our make up. We rely so much on our surrounding ecosystem that we have to respect and protect it. We are concentrating on Blue Tourism and protecting our marine life. We have a Living Reefs Foundation which educates visitors on our conservation and sustainability efforts.
“We also have Twizys, little compact battery operated cars that allow visitors to get around.”
As of October 25, 2022, all testing requirements from the UK to Bermuda will end.