Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Fri May 20 2016

Bermuda Tourism Authority Launches CEO Search

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | May 20, 2016

Bermuda Tourism Authority Launches CEO Search

Bermuda’s tourism leadership continues to undergo significant change this year. The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA)’s board of directors this week announced the agency will seek a new chief executive this summer, as current CEO Bill Hanbury’s contract expires at the end of the year.

Hanbury’s upcoming departure follows March’s resignation of Shawn Crockwell as Bermuda’s tourism minister. For the past two years the pair served as the top officials connected to the country’s aggressive program to reverse its flagging visitor arrivals.

The BTA board will seek to “identify a suitable successor to current CEO Bill Hanbury by the fourth quarter of this year,” said board members in a statement.

“Bill’s upcoming departure was not unexpected, as his three-year contract comes to an end with the BTA,” said David Dodwell, the board’s chairman. “We now turn our attention to implementing our succession plan. It is time for the BTA to move into phase two of rebuilding Bermuda’s tourism industry,” he said.

Dodwell cited a range of data he said outlines a turnaround in Bermuda tourism under Hanbury’s direction of BTA. Under Hanbury’s leadership, “the team at the BTA has worked diligently with partners to turn around a struggling tourism industry,” he said. “Direct spending by air visitors in Bermuda reached an estimated $20.4 million during the first quarter, a four percent increase.”  

Added Dodwell, “The number of airline seats flying to Bermuda increased 21.9 percent in the first quarter [and] total leisure arrivals to Bermuda were up 31.9 percent when cruise arrivals are combined with vacation air arrivals.”

Bermuda recently scored an important new visitor source via an agreement with Norwegian Cruise Line for regular port calls at the territory’s historic St. George’s district in 2017 and 2018. St. George’s is also poised to welcome its first new hotel in decades following a request for proposals launched under Crockwell.

In addition, “Bermuda’s air arrivals from the U.S. increased 28.4 percent in the first quarter, with 83 percent of the growth is attributed to travelers younger than 45 years old,” said Dodwell. The figure marks “the first time in a least a decade Bermuda’s air arrival demographics have skewed this young.” In addition first-quarter hotel occupancy grew 7.4 percent.

“We have seen positive results since the start of 2016 and we fully expect this trend line to continue throughout the rest of year,” said Dodwell. “The future looks very bright for Bermuda tourism as we set the table for the America’s Cup and beyond. We feel strongly that this is a testament to his hard work and the efforts of [Hanbury’s] team.”

The BTA board will conduct a “robust process of selection and vetting of candidates against clearly defined criteria and objectives,” said Dodwell, and work though an agency to identify “a diverse slate of candidates for the position.”

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