News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Board of Directors of the Bermuda Tourism Authority regrets to announce the departure of Charles Jeffers as CEO of the BTA.
According to Wayne Caines, BTA Chairman of the Board: “We thank Charles for his contributions to Bermuda during a very difficult period for the country and the world at large.”
Tracy Berkeley, previously Chief Administration Officer, has replaced him as interim CEO, and plans are in motion for a permanent replacement. Erin Smith, previously Chief Information Officer, has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer. Jamari Douglas joins in the newly created post of VP, Marketing, PR and Communications. He was recruited by BTA from the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), where he served as Marketing Director. Additional internal appointments, expected to be announced in the coming weeks, will add additional bench strength organizationally.
Moreover, according to Caines, “We have a dynamic agenda of initiatives and a highly qualified executive leadership team to help realize the transformational tourism growth for Bermuda that is critical at this moment in time, as the world emerges from a global pandemic and we start our summer season. I am very excited about our future.”
In order to re-establish Bermuda as a top travel consideration, some of the main objectives of the BTA’s Tourism Strategic Recovery Plan are to promote sports and groups – especially sailing and other marine activities; expand and engage audiences from untapped markets; and improve the visitor experience.
Marquee Sporting Events
Sports tourism is a critical component of Bermuda’s National Tourism Plan, which identifies golf, tennis, sailing and endurance sports as key growth opportunities for Bermuda. Some of the highlights for the 2022 season include the upcoming Clipper Round the World Race – June 11-19, with 700 participants competing. Also this month will be the Newport Bermuda Race starting on June 17, a mainstay on the North American Sail-racing calendar. Coming fall, the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, the pinnacle PGA Tour event returns to Bermuda in October. A brand new Bermuda Black Golfers Week will also take place, as part of a new initiative to drive diversity in tourism and sporting events, in partnership with PGA Magazine and Ellison Consulting Group. Finishing out the year will be the World Triathlon Series, November 5 – 6, when Bermuda will once again host a leg of the World Triathlon Championship Series, with the best triathletes in the world competing in the City of Hamilton. The event will be televised globally, showcasing Bermuda’s world-class sports infrastructure.
New Brand Initiatives
As a result of a brand study commissioned by the BTA to determine the correct direction for Brand Bermuda in the wake of the global shift in tourism and travel, the brand will be refined to celebrate Bermuda’s authentic, culturally unique markers and to present an immersive, gritty, honest representation of the real Bermuda. The brand relaunch will take a phased approach starting with a new BTA website in mid-July, and the full brand campaign launch set to occur in mid-September.
New Tourism Standards
BTA has been engaged in the Bermuda Government’s education transformation initiative to support the development of the signature school hospitality and tourism curriculum. Alongside tourism stakeholders, the BTA will provide industry expertise to help develop knowledge, talent and interest throughout the tourism workforce pipeline. Several key programs will help reframe and rebrand the National Service Standards to ensure that every business is providing excellent customer service and elevated experience. A new independent partner will help to manage customer feedback in all areas by collecting data essential to understanding guest expectations, identifying issues, and assisting businesses who want to consistently improve their products, service, and staff. This is all important when ensuring that Bermuda is high on the map for exceeding customer expectations.
PR & Communications
Tracy Berkeley, a highly motivated, agile and focused C-Suite professional with twenty plus years of diverse, global, strategic HR and operational experience in the (re)insurance, tourism, healthcare and international business sectors, was appointed as Chief Administration Officer in February of 2021. In that role she was the executive leader responsible for directing best practice in both HR management and operational efficiencies for the Bermuda Tourism’s Authority’s Bermuda and New York offices. Additionally, she serves on the Board of the Bermuda Visitor Service Center, the Board of Polaris Holding Company Limited –as well as the Royal Bermuda Regiment Defense and Promotions Board.
Erin Smith, an experienced professional in research & business intelligence, tourism, technology, privacy and marketing, was appointed as Chief Information Officer in September of 2019. In that role, she has had oversight of all information technology, research, analysis and reporting, including tourism measures, marketing effectiveness, and tracking key performance indicators. She has reported on key market trends and changing market conditions, and highlighted opportunities and threats that facilitated informed decision-making by the organization.
Jamari Douglas has a strong background developing and executing strategic sales and marketing campaigns. Known as a strategic partner in his previous role at the BDA where he served for the last three years, he uses a data-driven approach to inform critical decisions regarding brand development, market-entry, and competitive strategies. While at the BDA, he grew website traffic by 150% YoY and increased time spent on the website by 300% following the design and implementation of a new targeted webpage, generated thousands of qualified leads by revamping the internal CRM system and aligning business development goals and objectives. He focused on growth and retention across consumer marketing plans and communications, growing social media channels by 45% and achieving an 8% increase in consumer retention. Having held previous roles in the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s New York office, Jamari’s appointment marks the celebratory return of a boomerang team member.
Wayne Caines summarized the plans for growth, along with the new executive leadership team as follows: “Bermuda is poised for dynamic growth. We have exciting plans for vibrant and magnetic activations, and a highly qualified team that has been instrumental in developing those plans who are thus invested in leading those plans to successful outcomes. We look forward to a strong summer season, as a gateway to the high season ahead.”
About the Bermuda Tourism Authority
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an independent, non-government entity and the official destination marketing organization for the island country. The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) promotes Bermuda globally as a world-class destination for leisure and group travel and tourism investment. For more information visit: www.gotobermuda.com/bermudatourism.