The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an independent Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) formed in 2014 to drive the evolution of Bermuda as a world-class tourism destination.
A DMO is a destination marketing organisation 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 travellers, generating overnight lodging, visits to restaurants and shopping revenues. A DMO also shapes long-term travel and tourism strategies for a destination. In October 2018, the Bermuda Tourism Authority released Bermuda's National Tourism Plan, the first countrywide plan for tourism since 2012.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority Act 2013 is legislation that legally created the BTA. It was tabled and passed in Bermuda's House of Assembly in September 2013, and its Senate the following month.
No, it is an independent entity with both public and private funding and was established that way to keep politics out of tourism-related decisions. The BTA follows DMO best practices and has earned international accreditation from Destinations International, a highly coveted designation held by fewer than 20 percent of global destinations.
The Bermuda Department of Tourism was a government department, while the Bermuda Tourism Authority is a private DMO run independently by industry experts, a move which helps de-politicise tourism for the island. The belief shared across the island's political parties was that a properly structured, research-based DMO would be best suited to revitalise tourism in Bermuda.
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.
The BTA is led by a Chief Executive Officer and consists of four divisions:
- Marketing, PR & Communications
The BTA’s functions and services are managed within each of its divisions: Experiences; Sales; Marketing, PR & Communications; Operations including Tourism Standards 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.
The BTA is strategic in its allocation of resources, takes select risks and moves quickly to capture opportunities afforded by growing global tourism demand. Its five-year strategic plan is articulated in the National Tourism Plan (2019–25).
There are 34 full-time employees at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, of whom 91 percent are Bermudian or spouses of Bermudians.
The BTA empowers its team to be customer-focused, proactive, and solution-oriented and to make decisions in the best interest of Bermuda as a tourism destination.
Each of the BTA’s divisions has a specific set of key objectives designed to positively impact tourism in Bermuda:
The Experience team uses Bermuda’s distinct assets to create core products that enhance how visitors spend time on our island and establish a competitive advantage for the country’s tourism product.
The Sales team works to raise hotel occupancies and overall tourism revenue, reduce seasonality, and thus improve employment in the industry. Efforts are focused in geographical areas with the most return on investment, and where airlift exists.
The Marketing, PR & Communications team focuses on Bermuda's marketing activities to raise awareness of and demand for Bermuda as a destination. It is the guardian and messenger of the Bermuda brand. This division looks for the most cost effective and efficient means to deliver Bermuda's brand message to the identified markets, encouraging them to travel to Bermuda.
Operations oversees all corporate functions of the BTA, from human resources to finance to IT. It is also responsible for the deployment of national service training standards and supports the development, growth and sustainability of Bermudians in the hospitality industry.
- The Business Intelligence & Technology unit guides the BTA in making research-based decisions that are responsive to consumer demand and drive marketing decisions.
- The Tourism Standards and Training team is relentless in leading in several key areas to assist in the growth of the industry workforce, elevating industry standards and the empowerment of industry professionals through education and trainings.
Government provides a grant to the BTA similar to the way it funded the former Department of Tourism. The BTA also collects funds, as the former Tourism Board did, through a guest fee (4.5 percent) charged to hotel and vacation rental guests.
2018: $34.1 million = $26 million (govt grant) + $8.1 million (guest fee)
2017: $32.9 million = $25 million (govt grant) + $7.9 million (guest fee)
* The BTA fee is 4.5 percent as of May 2016
The BTA may sponsor experiences that enhance Bermuda's overall tourism product, attract visitors and give them something to do while on the island.
There are three categories in which funding may be provided:
- Sports – Sporting event/experience that 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 your programme is ranked accordingly if it has the ability to include any of the following elements:
- A unique experience
- A viable business/marketing plan
- Alignment with target visitor expectations or filling an identified product gap
- Attraction of international visitors travelling specifically for an event
- Sustainability (i.e. is not a "one-off")
- Increase in visitors' length of stay and daily spend
- Multiple sources of funding (i.e. beyond solely BTA)
- Provision of matching funds
- Letters of support (two required)
- Experiences that align with the Bermuda National Tourism Plan
- A celebrity, sporting personality, or prize-winning artist attending or participating in an event or programme
Funding requests for up to $75,000 will be considered. Applicants applying to the BTA for Experience Investment support should apply here in March or September.
The BTA is the driving force behind the Certified Tourism Ambassador Programme, which has almost 1,000 trained men and women on the front lines of the tourism industry as part of a national standard of excellence designed to set Bermuda apart in visitor service.
Meantime, the Experience Team holds workshops each year to support entrepreneurs with homegrown ideas as they prepare applications for investment funding.
As part of the BTA’s commitment to transparency, visitor statistics are released on a quarterly a basis and are available on the Research & Reports section of our website. Meantime, monthly, annual and more sensitive research data is available to tourism stakeholders via BTAConnect.