What did you do during the summer growing up?
In Bermuda, especially in the 80s and 90s, sailing was our summer
camp—the place parents packed their kids off to get rid of them when they
were annoyingly off of school for ten weeks. I actually really loved it though.
I hear there’s a rather embarrassing photo that exists commemorating this love. Can I hear that story?
In the early 90s we had the Omega Gold Cup series, and the crews held
a charity race in order to get involved in the local community. One of the
groups they were supporting was the Bermuda Boy Scouts. They wanted to
take photos in advanced, you know, so they could promote the event. Now
there’s this picture of me [at 13-years-old]—I think it was in Barr’s Park—in
a little scout uniform tying a reef knot, and it had the headline “How Many
Knots Can He Tie?” And for years afterwards I was mocked and belittled
for this ridiculous poseur photo. But... I got to spend a whole day actually
sailing with Russell Coutts. It was kind of fun when I got introduced to him
this time around—I was like, ‘ We’ve met before! And I can prove it!’
Did he remember you?
You must have been devastated.
I was crushed.
What’s your favourite Bermudian cuisine?
I don’t know if this counts, but my grandfather was this incredibly gregarious, larger than life, nice-to-everybody kinda guy… he invited everyone
along to everything. In the summer, when I was little, he used to take me,
my parents, and 15 of his closest friends (or anyone he happened to be able
to get a hold of ) in the boat down to Waterlot when they used to do the
jazz brunch out on the dock. That’s really one of the happiest childhood
memories for me. On a Sunday, sitting on the dock... it was just a ridiculously happy place.
Let’s say you weren’t just hired as the new CEO of the Bermuda
Tourism Authority. If you had to work somewhere else in hospitality
or tourism, what job would you choose?
[Pausing to think] Obviously there’s the romantic appeal being a deck
hand—there really is. Everyone thinks that must be so fantastic, but you for-
get how much you can learn to hate salt... and the sun. No, I’d probably... I’ve
always loved hotels. I’d probably be working in one of them, a concierge or in
guest relations. Even though I’ve been away, I always end up as everybody’s
Bermuda tour director and tour planner. It would be nice to be paid for that.
What are your passions or hobbies outside of work?
I’m pretty passionate about equality, and GLBT rights in particular. I
used to sit on the board of an organization that worked with GLBT undergraduates who, even today, may not feel that they are welcome in business
and industry. There’s a reason they kind of self-select out, into the creative
arts where they feel safer, or more welcome. I specifically worked on helping
make business “friendlier.”
Do we need to do more to address inequality here in Bermuda?
Yes and no. Last year was a pretty interesting year from that point of view.
I’ve never found Bermuda to be anything other than friendly and welcoming, and a place where I can be myself. On the other hand, I am pretty sure
evin Dallas was raised in Mills
Creek. His family were Spanish
Point people, he says. “I grew up
thinking Somerset was really far
away.” Between the ages of four
and 17, he attended Saltus. In the summers, he
sailed. He is, by all measures, Bermudian, and
that’s a good thing to be when you’re the new
CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. But
that’s not why he was hired.
“His unique combination of global credentials
and experience encompasses market development work for South African Tourism, as well as
consultancy and executive roles in product and
marketing within the digital domain,” said BTA
Chairman David Dodwell of Dallas’ appointment.
“Kevin Dallas is a proven leader in cutting
edge digital marketing and strategy at an in-
novative global technology company where he
learnt the inner workings of the online travel
industry. We are thrilled that he is bringing this
expertise to the BTA.”
In Bermuda, Dallas has inherited a tourism
economy rapidly on the rise after 11 months of
consecutive growth. Tourists are spending more
money, hotels are taking more bookings, and
vacation air arrivals have jumped 16 per cent.
The transition between him and former CEO
Bill Hanbury has gone off seamlessly, and his
appointment was welcomed by both the public
and opposition Government. Things couldn’t be
Naturally that will all change in the coming
months. Crises will arise. Curveballs will be
thrown. But in the meantime, Dallas can surf the
wave of 2017, a year that promises to be one
hell of a ride.
I met with Dallas one morning this January,
over coffee and breakfast at Devil’s Isle Café.
With less than a week in the job, we decided to
forgo talking shop and focus on his life as a Bermudian growing up and his hopes for the future,
both in his role as CEO and for his island home