What is the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an independent, private, Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) formed to be the singular voice that restores and evolves Bermuda as a world-class tourism destination. The move to an independent DMO grew out of the National Tourism Plan, which was created in 2012 and which called for the creation of a Tourism Authority to revitalise Bermuda’s tourism industry, stimulate the economy, create a welcoming environment for hospitality investment and create jobs for Bermudians.
What is a DMO?
A DMO is a destination marketing organization or convention and visitor bureau that promotes a town, city, region or country in convention sales, tourism marketing and services. Such organisations promote economic development of a destination by increasing visits from leisure and business travelers, which generates overnight lodging, visits to restaurants and shopping revenues. A DMO also shapes long-term travel and tourism strategies for a destination.
What is the Bermuda Tourism Authority Act?
The Bermuda Tourism Authority Act 2013 is the legislation that legally created the Tourism Authority. It was tabled and passed in the House of Assembly in September 2013 and in the Senate on October 7, 2013.
Is the Bermuda Tourism Authority a Government entity?
No, not at all. It is a private company that has been established specifically to keep politics out of tourism-related decisions. The BTA follows DMO best practices and has earned international accreditation from Destination Marketing Association International. This is a highly coveted designation held by less than 20% of global destinations..
How is the Bermuda Tourism Authority different from the Bermuda Department of Tourism?
The Bermuda Department of Tourism was a Government department and the Bermuda Tourism Authority is a private DMO run independently by industry experts, a move which aides in de-politicizing tourism for the island. The belief shared across political parties was that a properly structured, research-based DMO is best suited to revitalise tourism in Bermuda.
What's the difference between the Bermuda Tourism Board and the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
The Bermuda Tourism Board (BTB) was created in 2012 as a non-political organisation to direct the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s efforts in the promotion of Bermuda’s tourism product. The BTB ceased to exist once the BTA Board was convened.
How is the Bermuda Tourism Authority structured?
The new enterprise is led by a Chief Executive Officer and consists of five divisions:
- Sales & Marketing
- Product & Experience
- Tourism Investment
- Research & Business Intelligence
The BTA’s functions and services are managed within the divisions including: investment and funding; branding, sales and marketing; product development; tourism research; tourism education and training. These functions are in addition to those previously undertaken by the Bermuda Department of Tourism and reflect the priorities of the National Tourism Plan.
What is the strategic vision of the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
The BTA is an independent, private, tourism enterprise developed to be the singular voice to restore and evolve Bermuda as a world-class tourism destination. It develops creative and innovative ways to make Bermuda an attractive destination for visitors and tourism investment. As a world-class DMO, it is results-oriented, accountable and transparent to stakeholders. The BTA is strategic in its allocation of resources, takes select risks and moves quickly to capture the opportunities afforded by growing global tourism demand. For each tourism initiative, a clear business case is required that demonstrates its added value to tourism.
How many people work for the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
There are 39 full-time employees at the Bermuda Tourism Authority of which 90% are Bermudian.
The BTA empowers its team to be customer-focused, proactive, solution-oriented and to make decisions that are in the best interest of Bermuda as a tourism destination.
How does the Bermuda Tourism Authority positively impact tourism?
Each of the BTA’s divisions has a specific set of key objectives designed to positively impact tourism in Bermuda:
The Sales and Marketing team is largely focused on increasing air arrivals to Bermuda because air visitors have the greatest impact on the tourism economy. For every $1 a cruise visitor spends, an air visitor spends $11.
The Product and Experience team uses Bermuda’s unique assets to create core products that enhance the experience of the visitor and establish a competitive advantage for the country’s tourism product.
The Operations division oversees all corporate functions in addition to having responsibility for transparently communicating with local tourism industry stakeholders. Operations is simultaneously responsible for the deployment of national service training standards and supports the Bermuda Hospitality Institute in its mission to encourage the development, growth and sustainability of Bermudians in the hospitality industry.
The Research and Business Intelligence unit guides the BTA in making research-based decisions that are responsive to consumer demand and drive marketing decisions.
The Investment Division focuses on attracting primarily foreign investment to the island’s tourism economy by working with partners in government to move capital investment projects from bureaucratic red tape to a welcoming red carpet. Foreign investment is seen as critical to the growth of jobs in the tourism sector.
How will the Bermuda Tourism Authority help Bermuda compete in the global tourism marketplace?
The BTA has designed and is executing a robust communications, marketing and media plan to support the organisation’s vision to position Bermuda as a world-class destination. The BTA is strategic in its allocation of resources, takes selective risks and moves quickly to capture the opportunities afforded by growing global tourism demand. For every tourism initiative, a clear business case is required to demonstrate that it adds value to tourism.
The performance of the BTA and the industry in general is shared with the public online on a monthly and quarterly basis.
How is the Bermuda Tourism Authority funded?
Government provides a grant to the BTA similar to the way they funded the former Department of Tourism. The BTA also collects funds, as the former Tourism Board did, through the guest fee (4.5 per cent) charged to hotel guests. One of the prime responsibilities and objectives of the Authority is, however, to look for ways to raise its own funding.
What is the Bermuda Tourism Authority's budget?
2016 - $27.8 million = $22.45 million (Gov Grant) + $5.4 million (Guest Fee)
2015 - $25.3 million = $21.7 million (Gov Grant) + $3.4 million (Guest Fee)
2014 – $26.5 million = $23.1 million (Gov Grant) + $3.4 million (Guest Fee)
* The Tourism Authority Fee is 2.5 % of the rack rate charged by hotels as outlined in the Bermuda Tourism Authority Act, Section 15. In May 2016, the fee went up to 4.5%
How can I get funding for an idea I have to improve visitors experience when on-island? Does my business qualify for Bermuda Tourism Authority support as a Tourism experience?
Applicants must have a mission and operation that is directly related to tourism and tourism development in Bermuda, in line with the National Tourism Plan and must be a part of one of the following:
•Economic development organisation
•Profit or non-profit organisation that is directly related to tourism or tourism development
•Individual or group interested in undertaking tourism-related initiatives
Any experience that exhibits the following will be considered ineligible:
•Experiences that require the Bermuda Tourism Authority to cover the full cost
•Applications that have been submitted after the deadline
•Experiences not occurring in Bermuda or related to Bermuda tourism
•The funding request is to offset any expense(s) associated with a previous venture
•Requests for permanent funding
•Experiences that do not align with the goals of the National Tourism Plan
Also any of the following categories of events are ineligible:
•Tradeshows or Expos (If the main activity of the event is a products/services showcase, the event would be considered an expo)
What sponsorship opportunities does the Bermuda Tourism Authority offer?
The Bermuda Tourism Authority may sponsor Experiences that enhance the overall tourism product, attracts visitors to the island and gives them something to do while on the island.
There are three (3) categories in which funding may be provided:
- Sports – Sporting event/experience which attract visitors to Bermuda.
- Arts/ Culture – Tours/experiences that showcase and highlight Bermuda’s rich cultural offerings.
- New Experiences – A unique nature/ beach/ other offering that provides a memorable, authentic Bermuda experience.
Priority will be given to those experiences that are annual and highly competitive. You can ensure that your programme is ranked accordingly if it has the ability to include any of the following elements:
•A unique experience
•Applications with a viable business/marketing plan
•Alignment with target visitor expectations or filling an identified product gap
•The attraction of international visitors travelling specifically for an event
•Sustainability, i.e. is not a "one-off"
•An increase in the visitor’s length of stay and daily spend
•Multiple sources of funding, i.e. beyond solely BTA
•Provision of matching funds
•Has letters of support (2 required)
•Experiences that align with the Bermuda National Tourism Plan
•A celebrity, sporting personality, or prizewinning artist attending or participating in an event or programme
How can I receive and/or apply for support from the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
Funding requests for up to $75,000 will be considered. Applicants applying to the Bermuda Tourism Authority for Experiences Investment support should apply here.
The investment process opens every year in September for consideration for experiences occurring in Jan- Dec of the following year. No handwritten, faxed or scanned application forms will be accepted. In addition, no walk-in applications will be accepted.
What training programmes does the Bermuda Tourism Authority offer to tourism businesses?
The BTA is the driving force behind the Certified Tourism Ambassador Programme which has almost 1,000 trained men and women on the front line of the tourism industry as part of a national standard of excellence designed to set Bermuda apart from its peers in the realm of visitor service. The BTA also supports the Bermuda Hospitality Institute in its mission to encourage the development, growth and sustainability of Bermudians in the hospitality industry, which is part of the National Workforce Development Plan.
Meantime, the Product and Experience team holds workshops each year to support entrepreneurs with homegrown ideas as they prepare their applications for investment funding.
How does the Bermuda Tourism Authority support investment in the Bermuda tourism industry?
Tourism investment is a major focus at the Bermuda Tourism Authority and a new division is dedicated to this important objective. The Investment Division focuses on attracting foreign investment to the island’s tourism economy by working with partners in government to move capital investment projects from bureaucratic red tape to a welcoming red carpet. Foreign investment is seen as critical to the growth of jobs in the tourism sector.
Who should I contact if I want to invest in Bermuda tourism hotel and infrastructure development?
Roland Andy Burrows, Chief Investment Officer - [email protected]
How can I access tourism research and reports regarding the Bermuda tourism industry?
As part of the BTA’s commitment to transparency, visitor statistics are released on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis in our Research & Reports section and can be accessed at any time.
Will Government still be running tourism through the Bermuda Tourism Authority as opposed to the Bermuda Department of Tourism?
No, the Bermuda Tourism Authority is genuinely independent with an autonomous Board.
Who will be in charge of the Bermuda Tourism Authority?
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has its own Board of Directors chaired by David Dodwell. The Authority Chief Executive Officer is Bill Hanbury.
Since the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s inception in April of 2014, it has demonstrated a commitment to transparency, and as of April 2015, it has fully complied with Public Access to Information (PATI) legislation.