An eventful weekend in sports tourism has local transportation companies, hotel workers and others in the tourism industry very busy during what is typically a non-peak time.
Between Friday and Sunday, four major sports tourism events are taking place across the island bringing an estimated 400 visitors:
The Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship;
The Bermuda Triple Challenge;
The Ariel Re Bermuda Rugby Sevens;
and the New York Cosmos preseason training and exhibition match
“This is the kind of weekend that solidifies Bermuda’s position as a premier sports tourism destination, especially in the winter months,” said Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Kevin Dallas.
In the first quarter of 2017, the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is providing support to 14 sports tourism events, more than in any other quarter of this year. These events were chosen after a rigorous selection process, including an assessment of the return on investment for the island, as part of the BTA's annual "Experience Investment Programme". It’s a strategic approach to increase the number of visitors to the island during the shoulder season – November through March.
At a National Sports Centre press event today, the Bermuda Tourism Authority highlighted the important roles local residents, civic organisations and corporate entities play to help bring international sporting events to Bermuda, including Ariel Re, title sponsor of this weekend’s collegiate rugby event, now in its second year.
“This event provides a unique opportunity for our young, local athletes to compete in front of US collegiate coaches, providing greater access to potential rugby scholarships and further academic development,” said Michael Doyle, senior vice president of operations at Aerial Re. “By backing this event, Ariel Re hopes our local athletes will take advantage of the opportunity to display their talents and build upon the successful Ariel High School league programme, facilitated through the tremendous efforts of The Family Centre and Beyond Rugby.”
Similarly, a combine hosted by the New York Cosmos this weekend provides a potential pathway for aspiring Bermudian footballers.
The support of the Bermuda Tourism Authority solely is rarely enough to make sports tourism events possible, corporate sponsorship is a major component. The following sponsors were acknowledged at today’s event:
Bacardi and Fairmont Southampton for Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship
Chubb, Argus and Sun Life Financial for Bermuda Triple Challenge;
Ariel Re for Ariel Re Bermuda Rugby Sevens;
Bermuda Football Association and Department of Youth and Sport for the New York Cosmos
Event sponsors and organisers were united in their pitch to encourage the community to come out over the weekend to support the events as spectators. Most of the events are free.
Dallas said: “When you are out there cheering on the competitors of these sports know that you’re also supporting thousands of workers in the Bermuda tourism industry.
“The transportation companies are very busy this weekend and hotel workers at Grotto Bay and Fairmont Southampton see a spike in activity directly as a result of these events. Like us, they’re excited about the legacy of sports tourism we are building together.”