Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO spoke with TNN’s Trevor Lindsay on his eight-month anniversary of becoming CEO, after addressing members of the Hamilton Rotary Club during their weekly luncheon.
Mr. Jeffers expressed that, despite Bermuda’s travel authorization process for people arriving on island keeping people in Bermuda safe, he thinks that it might be too much to ask for at this point in time.
“ The Government announced that they plan to refine our testing regime and hopefully modify the travel authorization to make it easier for people and make it more appealing to tourists coming to Bermuda [as a result],” he said.
Mr. Jeffers also believes that in order for more flights to come to the island, the island must have more hotel rooms and must be more willing to live with COVID.
“ Bahamas and many other countries to our south have been completely open for months, but we have been much more conservative in Bermuda,” he explained. “ Moving forward, we should be figuring out how to live with this virus while still protecting the people of Bermuda.”
Because the Fairmont Southampton Princess is the island’s largest hotel, Mr. Jeffers believes that it has to open back up and he looks forward to when it does just that. It might be able to reopen as early as 2023.
“ The Princess’ and BTA’s sales teams are already actively selling, because when [the hotel] reopens, we need it to be firing in all cylinders, because that impacts the rest of the destination by creating compression and allowing other hotels to benefit when that hotel is [reopened],” he said.
He believes that, once the BTA starts trying to book new group business activity to the island, that is when investors will start seriously looking at the island.
“ When investors come here, they are talking to us, but they are also talking to other hotels,” he said. “ As far as a brand is concerned, those agreements are typically done between owners and brand companies themselves and we do not get in the middle of that.”
“ It is great to have Marriott back at the St. Regis, but we would love to see more [brands],” he continued. “ I love Bermuda and want to see it thrive. This is my country and I would love to see our tourism thrive again.”
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