Ministerial Statement by the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, The Hon. Jamahl Simmons, JP, MP:
Good Morning Mr Speaker, I am pleased to share with this honourable House the details of my recent visit to New York City for meetings and marketing events related to the advancement of our country’s tourism industry. Along with the Chief Executive of the Bermuda Tourism Authority Kevin Dallas and other marketing professionals on his New York-based team, I attended three marketing events in New York last week as part of a coordinated marketing blitz.
Mr Speaker, the New York City events I will highlight are just one part of a much larger strategy where replicated versions of these events will take place in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Each of those cities provides direct air service to Bermuda and that is why they have been targeted for these marketing blitzes.
Mr Speaker, the goal in each city is to:
- Inspire travel to Bermuda;
- Attract media and trade partners that have the potential to amplify the Bermuda story to readers, social media followers and clients and;
- Deliver events that are experiential and engaging
Mr Speaker, there were two Bermuda Tourism Authority-hosted lunches for destination event planners and professionals in travel media. These lunches took place at Palma, a venue in lower Manhattan that was selected by the BTA because it matches the brand aesthetic of Bermuda. The proprietor of The Bermuda Perfumery, Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, worked with the chef at Palma to aromatically match the dishes of the lunch menu with the island-inspired Lili Bermuda fragrances.
Mr Speaker, I know not many of us have experienced a fragrance-inspired meal of this kind, but the Bermuda fragrances and the Bermuda storytelling magically transported the audience to Bermuda without leaving New York City. I was pleased to offer remarks to the guests who all expressed enjoyment at their midday Bermuda experience. I look forward to communicating with those guests in the future as they spread the Bermuda story to their readers, followers and clients.
At an evening style event at a lower Manhattan hotel the following Bermuda “creative” were present to give guests a feel for our island life out here in the Atlantic:
- Artist, Alshante Foggo;
- Sculptor, Stratton Hatfield;
- Jewellery Maker, Elissa Stubbs;
- Fashion Designer, Rebecca Hanson of TABS;
- Cary Butterfield and Patricia Borland of Hamec who are also fashion designers;
- Musician, Raven Baksh;
- DJ, Damon DeGraff;
- And Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone who I have already mentioned
All of them represented Bermuda impeccably Mr. Speaker.
The destination event planners that attended really had their imaginations opened and I know they’re excited about bringing their wedding, corporate and other group clients to Bermuda.
Mr Speaker, this same model of event marketing moves next to Boston, then to Philadelphia and then onto Washington, DC.
Mr Speaker, I also spent a great deal of time in the Bermuda Tourism Authority New York office getting up-to-speed with the public relations and social media teams, particularly as it relates to the international media coverage of the Domestic Partnership Act. Over the past several months my Ministry has been working with the BTA to formulate the proper response that ensures travel consumers know Bermuda is a destination welcoming to everyone – including the LGBT community.
Mr Speaker, the in-person meetings in New York were valuable to take note of where we are to date on this issue from a tourism perspective – and I will stay abreast of further developments in consultation with our partners at the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.