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The Short Version: The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) stands in support of local businesses and helps the tourism industry thrive throughout the subtropical island. Bermuda is a short flight away from New York City, so it’s a convenient and fun-filled destination for a romantic weekend getaway. Thanks to the government’s coronavirus safety measures, couples can now go on a safe dating adventure in Bermuda, relax on the beach, and leave their cares behind them.
Bermuda is a world-class vacation spot where romance can be found around every corner. Whether they’re kayaking through the mangroves or sitting quietly on the beach, visitors can immerse themselves in a subtropical oasis unlike any other.
Local Bermudians are famously hospitable and welcome newcomers with open arms and invitations to go rafting with new friends.
“We eat, sleep, and drink tourism,” said Jill Dill, Projects Manager at the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). “If we see a couple sitting alone on the beach, we will go somewhere else and let them have their romantic moment.”
In 2013, the Bermuda government created legislation to establish the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) as a separate tourism marketing company. Its founding mission was to create a national tourism plan in partnership with local businesses.
The BTA is an independent organization that is nimble and dynamic enough to adapt quickly to changing circumstances — as it did when the coronavirus pandemic presented a challenge to the global tourism industry.
Like most other countries, Bermuda went under a nationwide lockdown in the spring of 2020, but it has now reopened — with strict testing measures in place — and welcomed visitors looking for a stress-free and virus-free vacation.
“Bermuda is so small. When someone comes to the island, they’re literally stepping into Bermudians’ world,” Jill said. “As a visitor, you’re immersed in our life.”
Bermuda sees all types of people mingling together in harmony. Its visitors range from school teachers on summer vacation to celebrities staying at a private beach house. Some are visiting with families and interested in sightseeing at the historic town of St. George (founded in 1609), and others are more interested in finding a secluded spot on the water with their significant other.
The island is only a 90-minute flight away from New York City, so it has a major appeal to vacationers on the East Coast. People have traveled from all over the world to explore this famous subtropical destination and get into its party spirit. As Jill said, “All stratas of life connect, coexist, and collaborate in Bermuda.”
New Yorkers can decide to turn their date night into a weekend adventure by hopping on a direct flight to Bermuda. The beaches offer a serene and romantic landscape, and the community has a wide array of activities to entertain and excite visitors.
For instance, couples can sign up for a jet ski safari and see the island in a unique way. The guided tour includes wonderful views of the island as well as fun facts about shipwrecks, marine life, and historical events.
Bermuda has historical museums, family-owned shops, and boat rentals — in addition to its world-famous beaches and coves.
“We’re proud of these beautiful beaches and gorgeous water — but Bermuda is also more complex, deeper, and richer than just that,” Jill said. “It’s a beautiful environment that inspires and nurtures happiness. It’s a place where you can connect with people.”
Visitors can spend lazy days relaxing on the beach, or they can explore the local shops, go paddleboarding through mangrove forests, and learn more about the history and culture of Bermuda.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has two office locations — one in Bermuda and one in New York — with a total of 40 employees working hard to highlight the best the island has to offer.
BTA team members come from diverse backgrounds. One employee is an Emmy award winner, and another is an Olympian. “They’ve been successful in their personal lives, and they bring that confidence to their everyday work life as well,” Jill said. “It’s an inspirational and engaging place to work.”
Interim CEO Glenn Jones sets the tone for the company with his creative and energetic personality. He grew up in Bermuda and resides on the island, and he is enthusiastic about helping people fall in love with its people, its history, and its culture.
Glenn fosters a company culture where people can bounce ideas off one another in an open office floor plan. The team collaborates on ways to promote its stakeholders (hoteliers, restaurateurs, shopkeepers, etc.) and spread the word about Bermuda’s tourism offerings.
“We really engage with the community,” Jill said. “In some sense, everyone who lives and works on Bermuda has been touched by the tourism industry. The work of our organization is to ensure that all residents benefit from this industry.”
Tourism is a major aspect of the Bermuda economy. In 2019, Bermuda saw over 800,000 visitors, marking its third consecutive year of record-breaking arrival numbers. The tourism industry brought $419 million to the island that year, and it seemed poised for future growth through cruise line stops.
Then the first wave of the 2020 pandemic hit, and Bermuda went under lockdown, effectively shutting down its tourism industry for months. The country adopted an inside-out approach to the pandemic, taking care of precious resources and citizens as a first priority.
The Bermuda government formed a coronavirus task force and set to work implementing a nationwide testing plan.
Meanwhile, the Bermuda Tourism Authority worked alongside the chamber of commerce to support local businesses. It launched initiatives that encouraged Bermudians to order takeout food from locally owned restaurants, and it also promoted online retail portals that shipped internationally.
“The BTA used its global channels to push information out,” Jill said, “and people in the community really embraced that. They understood the need to help the economy.”
On July 1st, Bermuda reopened to international visitors with strong testing protocols in place to stop community spread. All visitors must submit a negative coronavirus test before their flight and take another test upon their arrival. They are required to quarantine for 24 hours while awaiting the results of that test, and they must take another test on day four, eight, and fifteen if they are in Bermuda for an extended stay.
Today, Bermuda hasn’t exactly returned to normal, but it has relaxed measures enough to allow safe, socially distanced events, including a the Bermuda Championship, a PGA TOUR event held from October 26 to November 1. Spectators who have posted a negative test will be allowed to view this event.
The BTA has adapted to the new normal and continued to move forward with its beloved community events. It will still host its annual food festivals, boat parades, and art walks as usual, and tourists will be able to explore a laid-back, virus-free setting without worrying about their health.
This December, couples can escape to Bermuda to enjoy a festive tour of Bermuda National Trust houses built in the 1600s. Every year, locals open up their homes and tell stories about the history of the island. The traditional wintertime event is a great date activity full of music and wonderment.
“Although under restrictions, we are alive and thriving during this global challenge,” Jill said. “We are stabilizing and trying to resume Bermuda’s tourism experiences. Some people are saying 2020 is canceled, but in Bermuda, that’s not the case.”
Couples don’t have to go very far to find relaxation and serenity on their next vacation. They can flit off to Bermuda for a long weekend and explore dating activities on the water, in the historic towns, and, of course, by the pink sandy beaches.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has a full event calendar for 2020 and 2021, and it has partnered with local businesses to keep the tourism industry strong. The organization’s resources can help couples take part in one-of-a-kind island experiences in a safe and friendly environment.
“Bermuda offers couples an utterly romantic weekend. Just you and your partner on a quiet beach,” Jill said. “At this time of year, the weather is pleasant, and you can even rent an electric car to zip around the island to explore our beautiful paradise.”