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that part of 17 year-old me’s desire to be somewhere else was on the
back of not being so sure that would be the case. Bermuda’s made a lot
of progress over that time, but last summer shows we’ve got more work
to do on that front.
Is that something that will ever be a part of your role as CEO?
I think Bermuda should be a friendly and welcoming place for
everyone. But because I happen to be gay, are we suddenly going to
start chasing... I think they called it the “pink dollar”? No. We target a
segment of travellers that we think will enjoy Bermuda and can afford
Bermuda, and some of them happen to be gay. We don’t want to turn
those people off, but will we specifically plan to target them? No. While
it’s a focus of mine outside of work, to some extent, I think the most
constructive thing I can do on that front is be here, be who I am, and do
the best job I possibly can.
Considering your new role, how would you define “success”?
Success for me is, well... there’s short-run success and long-run suc-
cess. Short-run success is coming off the blocks really quickly to make
the absolute most out of the America’s Cup, both in terms of in-year
results and the legacy we get out of it. We want future visitors, but we
also want future partners. Really, this is an opportunity for us to show
that we’re brilliantly simple to do business with, that we are kind of
place where you’d want to host an event like the America’s Cup. So this
year is all about doing that.
Long-run, it’s really about rebuilding “brand” Bermuda, to the
point that we’re back in popular culture. When someone says the word
“Bermuda”, we want them to think “a vaguely premium but accessible,
incredibly beautiful place—and not very far from New York. And not
just the tip of the “triangle.”
Lastly, it’s about the organization. It’s about making sure that if I were
to get run over by a bus, which is always possible around here, that the
BTA doesn’t miss a beat, that we have an organization full of Bermudi-
ans with all the capability we need to lead it forever.
This is the next chapter in a continuum, rather than a new direction.
I fundamentally believe that the BTA is already on the right path, and
it’s about taking it further, not changing course now.
Will part of your job be to extricate the BTA from political disputes on the island?
The whole point in setting up the BTA was to try and take the
politics out of tourism. And honestly, Bermuda’s too small a place for
anything to actually be truly independent—but I think we’ve made
some pretty big strides in that direction. The BTA has to work with the
government, the opposition, the unions, and everyone else. We’re not
here for the Hotel Association. We’re not here for the Unions. We’re
here for everyone.
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“Long-run, it’s really about rebuilding
‘brand’ Bermuda, to the point that
we’re back in popular culture.”