‘Agility’ plan aims to create 500 new jobs in tourism

  • Island appeal: Horseshoe Bay (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Hundreds of new tourism jobs will be created in the next two years as the industry continues to grow, a Bermuda Tourism Authority consultant has predicted.

Anthony Bennett, managing director of marketing consultants RedSky Strategy, said the island had already seen a 28 per cent increase in tourism jobs and that new hotels would create even more opportunities.

However, he added that some Bermudians still had to be convinced that the sector offered long-term careers.

Mr Bennett said: “What we have found is tourism is not viewed as a viable career for many people, and many people are discouraging their children from going into tourism.

“A number of hotels are going to come online in the next two years. There are going to be about 500 jobs and they will need Bermudians to fill those jobs.

“If we don’t encourage people to come into tourism as a career, there’s going to be a problem.

Mr Bennett added: “We need people to support tourism — not at the expense of everything else, but people need to support tourism for tourism to work.

“One of the major reasons people love to come to Bermuda is to interact with the locals. When we ask people what they like about Bermuda, number one is sun, number two is beaches and number three is the locals.

“People love interacting with locals. It’s what makes Bermuda special.”

Mr Bennett was speaking at the first of three National Tourism Plan information sessions on Tuesday.

The meetings were organised to outline the BTA’s draft plan for 2019 to 2025.

Mr Bennett explained the focus of the plan was “Agility” — an acronym for awareness and relevance, greener, infrastructure, local involvement, innovation, teams and groups and year-round.

He told the audience at the Port Royal Golf Course clubhouse that the BTA planned to boost business in the winter months through international meetings, conferences and sports groups.

Mr Bennett said: “When we spoke to people about coming year-round, we found that people in Bermuda are quite apologetic about the winter. They say don’t come in the winter. It’s not that great.

“I live in New York, and your winter is different from my winter. Your winter is like our mild spring day.

“You shouldn’t be apologising. There’s huge potential for people who don’t want to go swimming but might want to get to know the culture, the food and just relax with their spouse.”

The plan was designed to focus on strong existing markets such as New York, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and Toronto, but also to improve business from places such as Baltimore, Hartford, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco.

Mr Bennett said the BTA also hoped to attract more African-American visitors.

He added that last year 4 per cent of air arrivals were African-American, but that Bermuda’s target markets were 11 per cent African-American.

He said Europe remained a difficult market because of the high cost of travel to Bermuda and limited flights.

Mr Bennett said: “Until the flight situation has improved either by the introduction of another airline or another gateway airport, we think the potential is greater in the US.

“We definitely want to engage it, but it’s not the focus right now.”

To read the National Tourism Plan 2019-2025, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”