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‘Fast-Moving, Difficult-To-Predict Developments’

The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA], which is conducting a work-from-home trial today [March 17], has commented on the impact of the  global coronavirus pandemic, saying it presents “a cycle of fast-moving, difficult-to-predict developments.”

An email sent out by BTA Interim CEO Glenn Jones said, “By now you will have seen the Bermuda government’s coronavirus travel and border-protection policy, taking effect today, Tuesday, March 17.

“Here’s a summary of what this means for arriving visitors combined with other COVID-19 developments:

  • Our borders are open with some restrictions
  • Self-quarantine for visitors at their place of accommodation for up to 14 days [this means they must stay in their hotel room, vacation rental, etc]
  • Symptom-free visitors who remain after the self-quarantine period are free to move around the island
  • Symptom-free visitors can leave the island at any time, even if the 14-day period has not expired

“This policy will be reviewed regularly by local officials; currently it’s expected to run until March 31. We’ve updated our website to keep travel consumers informed about the government’s policy and to explain why the US State Department moved its travel advisory for Bermuda to Level 3.

“Leaders craft these policies in the best interest of public health, not tourism, and that’s entirely appropriate. Clearly, this is not an ideal moment for travel to Bermuda. Over time though, these safety moves could prove critical to our collective tourism ambition of maintaining a destination the world knows to be safe and welcoming.

“Meantime, on the cruise side of the business, lines serving Bermuda have voluntarily suspended travel through at least April 14. Thus far, that represents nine cruise calls and what was estimated to be about 20,000 passengers.

“We’re communicating about our industry to senior officials within the government and meeting with large employers like the Bermuda Hotel Association, whose membership made a collective decision to honour rescheduling or providing full cancellations for individual guest bookings for travel now through March 31.

“Those kinds of industry initiatives are helpful for our reputation as a premier tourism destination, which, while coping collaboratively with an escalating pandemic, also acknowledges the value and needs of travelers. It also paves the way for our sector’s future recovery when things eventually normalise.

“This week, we will lean on other partners, like Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, WEDCO, and BRAVO, to get a truer understanding of the impact of this pandemic on smaller businesses.

“We are in a cycle of fast-moving, difficult-to-predict developments. Despite that, our promise is to reliably communicate with stakeholders and consumers clearly and quickly. You’ll hear from us regularly and whenever there is important news to share about our industry.

“Lastly, a big thank you to our expert panelists and to all stakeholders who tuned in to yesterday’s 2020 Outlook Forum. We changed this from an in-person event to a free, live webinar to protect public health, and appreciate your support in making it happen.

“Soon we’ll make the recording available online. Airlift, 2020 strategic priorities, and new hotel properties were part of the discussion and Q&A—but, as expected, COVID-19 was the focal point. It’s our point of focus as well, working through formidable challenges collaboratively, while keeping our eye on the future.

“A housekeeping note, too: the BTA’s Bermuda office is conducting a work-from-home trial run today, but if we’re doing this right, you won’t even notice.”