My wife and I have been regular visitors to Bermuda since 1990 and annually since 2012. In the past four years, we discovered Cup Match and now plan our trips around the event.
It has always been fun to see everyone wearing their “colours” leading up to the match — including ourselves. We look forward to the good-spirited ribbing and bantering from those wearing the opposing colours. The atmosphere at both St George’s and Somerset speaks volumes about the hospitality of Bermudians.
On our first visit to Cup Match, we were directed to the visitors’ area, where we were welcomed by Bermuda Tourism Authority hosts and former cricketers explaining the game. We enjoyed the atmosphere thoroughly and have returned each time to share the experience with fellow visitors. We have told many people about this and have encouraged them to visit during Cup Match.
This year, however, we were stunned to learn that unless we had paid $60 in advance for a ticket available from the BTA only online, we were not welcome in the visitors’ area and were turned away. There were also two security guards with official-looking badges hanging from neck chains enforcing the no-entry status.
There was no provision to “pay at the gate”, either. It was an online ticket or nothing.
The poor hosts were very gracious, constantly apologising to us and others who were also being turned away. I felt sorry for them, as they were put in a terrible position. Ironically, we brought family with us this time to enjoy the fun, and we felt badly, as we had given them high expectations that were dashed.
For the $60, we would have been provided free drinks and a swag bag. That is three times the regular $20 entry fee. I suspect the bag would have been provided free by a sponsor and you would have to drink a lot to cover the higher fee!
If providing the alcohol was too expensive, we would have had no problem buying a drink. We pay the regular entry fee and buy from the food vendors on site anyway, so we are not expecting a “free ride” because we are visitors. We come for the experience, not the free booze. Our hotel, the taxi driver who took us back and a few others we spoke to had no idea that this policy had changed; they all assumed the visitors’ area was open to visitors without additional charge.
When we left, I counted exactly seven people sitting quietly in the visitors’ area. In the past, it is usually packed shoulder-to-shoulder and full of chatter. We enjoyed the Cup Match anyway and we had some fun with the fans at the game, but what a silly decision by the BTA.
We have always felt welcomed by Bermudians wherever we have gone; it is one reason we love the island so much. The only time we haven’t felt welcome has been at the hands of the Bermuda Tourist Authority.
KEN DAVIS and KIM ADENEY