Re-starting Bermuda tourism economy
Regular commercial airline services resumed today (July 2nd 2020) at the L.F. Wade International Airport.
The first flight to arrive, Air Canada from Toronto, touched down a few minutes after 1pm today. Everyone involved have done outstanding job in making sure Bermuda is ready to welcome visitors and returning residents back to our island home.
Regarding visitors to Bermuda, The Ministry of Tourism continue to work with the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) to inspire confidence in travelling again, by highlighting that Bermuda is a clean, safe and close jurisdiction that is reopening responsibly – with enhanced COVID-19 mitigation protocols in place by the Ministry of Health, that protect both visitors and the local community. To that end:
- after having paused paid marketing since March 16, the BTA restarted paid placements Wednesday, July 1;
the BTA’s marketing plan will gradually ramp up through the coming weeks and intensify as we get closer to expected increases in airlift capacity and hotel inventory;
- where to target is based on where there are flights, but also where there is workable flight connectivity – a task more difficult than it used to be, based on severely reduced flight schedules;
- because visitor volume will be lower than normal, there’s a simultaneous inside-out marketing approach, where aspects of the visitor experience will be marketed to locals at the same time they’re marketed to visitors. Examples:
- Golf Week (happening now);
- Independent Retailer Month (happening this month);
- Alfresco Dining Festival and World Tourism Day (in September);
- Yacht & Catamaran Week (in October);
- Spa Month (in November);
- and Staycations (as properties reopen).
All of these are in development and expected to reach finalization soon, based on willingness from on-island stakeholders. The Ministry is also working with the BTA to reach out to vacation rental owners – as well as working closely with hoteliers – to assist with making their safety plans operational.
Next week, the BTA will survey the entire tourism economy to understand who is planning to open, plus when and what they’re doing to keep consumers safe.
That feedback is important, so that visitors are aware of not only when hotels will reopen and what restaurants are back in operation – but also what experiences, tours, retailers, museums, mini car and moped rentals, etc. are available – making sure visitors can be connected with both established and small businesses in the tourism space.
The Ministry of Tourism are also in regular contact with the Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA), who remain committed to ensuring that the appropriate health and safety standards and COVID-19 mitigation protocols are in place at the island’s hotel properties, following Ministry of Health guidelines. For example:
- masks will be worn by all employees in all public areas, staff areas and when working, and education on the correct use of masks will be provided as well;
- hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in key guest and employee areas, and all encouraged to practice good hygiene frequently and thoroughly;
- signage regarding the Health requirements will be put in place;
- both guests and staff will have their temperatures taken when entering buildings
It is important to realise that the BHA is providing guidance on a good standard for all hotels; however each hotel brand is likely to have additional requirements that are over and above the guidelines being put in place now.
Having worked hard to contain the coronavirus in Bermuda, we will work equally hard to be the destination of choice for those seeking peace of mind in a safe and relaxing locale.
Finally, talks continue with the airline industry regarding airlift to Bermuda. However, The Ministry of Health re-emphasises that flight schedules are still subject to change. Since last week, American Airlines has decided to reinstate its flight from Miami rather than its flight from New York. At present, the Miami flight is due to start in September.
The ability to overcome challenges and adapt is something Bermuda is known for and Bermuda will continue to prove its worth as a top-tier tourism destination.