Bermuda will again be in the international sporting spotlight in April when the ITU World Triathlon Series comes to the island.
Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experience officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said the upcoming event would not only showcase the island as an ideal destination for sports, but introduce the island to a new set of travellers.
“Having built the sports tourism product over the last three years, I definitely see it is one of the most efficient ways to get new people here and leverage our strengths,” Ms Phillip-Fairn said.
“We are not building a new Olympic Village or anything like that. What we are doing is using our assets and leveraging them to a new set of people, and triathlon makes perfect sense for Bermuda.
“We have three years of World Series events. We also intend to bid on a final as well because it would be a fantastic experience and we would do well, but we can also introduce training for triathlons here outside of the major events.
“We can introduce clubs from all along the East Coast of America to Bermuda through these events, so there is potential for a further legacy.”
This year’s event will give visiting athletes and spectators a perfect opportunity to interact with Bermudians and experience the island’s hospitality.
Ms Phillip-Fairn said: “Our data tells us time and time again that interaction with locals makes someone’s holiday. Bermudians are renowned for hospitality, so having locals participate in the event is key to the experience.
“Its also a way to help the sport to grow and raise awareness in the community.”
This year’s World Series event take place in Hamilton, but Ms Phillip-Fairn said the course could change in future years after feedback from athletes and organisers.
“This is the first time that we have done this, and everything is a first,” she said. “We will see how this course works for the athletes, and see how it works for the organisation of the event, and if it works, why change it?
“I am looking forward to seeing how the athletes react to the course, because there are some sections that are definitely going to be a challenge.”
Ms Phillip-Fairn also said that the search is now on for volunteers to assist with the race and the surrounding festivities.
“I think it will be fun,” she said. “There were more than 400 volunteers for America’s Cup, and we won’t need that many, but we are encouraging everyone to visit tribermuda.com to sign up.
“It’s going to be a really fun weekend. The racing will be on the Saturday, but there will be events around the race from Thursday night to Sunday.”
It was announced last week that the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club will serve as the host hotel for this year’s race.
The hotel will also be a main sponsor of the ITU World Triathlon Series and it will receive global marketing, media and activation rights including on-course branding, housing and hosting opportunities.
Tim Morrison, general manager of the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, said the location and amenities made it a perfect host for the triathlon.
“This is just another opportunity for us to prove that we can host a world-class event,” he said.
“It is an opportunity for us as an island and as a hotel. I wasn’t here for America’s Cup, but the team here was so excited to be the host hotel, and we are just as excited to be able to host this event.”
Phil Schmidt of the World Triathlon Bermuda local organising committee said: “This is a great partnership for World Triathlon Bermuda.
“The proximity of the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club to the racecourse, in combination with the hotel’s superb level of service and amenities, will deliver a stellar experience for the ITU family, athletes and spectators alike.”
While the ITU World Series is set to return to the island in 2019 and 2020, Mr Morrison said it has yet to be determined if the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club will serve as the host hotel in future years.
“There are still some more discussions to be had,” he said.
“That’s something that’s still to be determined, but it is an exciting option. We are very, very proud to be hosting it this year.”