I read this article a few weeks ago but began thinking about it again recently. I visited Bermuda a few months ago and loved almost everything about the island. Though they identify heavily with the British Crown, they are a U.S./Canadian destination mecca. It really is an ideal location for business meetings, situated off the coast of North Carolina. Transiting through their small airport (BDA) is very easy and taxis are abundant.
Bermuda was discovered over 500 years ago with Spanish origins but the first settlers a century later were British. That influence is seen throughout the island, in accent as well as loyalty. It is well established as an international finance center and many major corporations have a presence there because of a very favorable tax environment.
With so much going for Bermuda, why hasn’t it become a darling for meetings? Nice as Bermuda is, there are some downsides.
While flights to BDA are not particularly expensive, most everything else is. Hotels and housing are on the pricey side, as is food. In part, the latter makes sense since most of the food is imported daily from the U.S. either by boat or plane. In fact, most things on the island are imported so this only adds to their costs.
Also, they do not have a convention center. This has been discussed in the past – and apparently is going on again – but if Bermuda is going to attract large groups, it is a necessity. Most meeting groups currently use the Fairmont Princess, the same hotel that I stayed at which is in the middle of a $90 million renovation. The oldest Fairmont in the chain, it has a glorious history with some meeting space but not nearly enough to attract large conventions.
As a tourist destination, Bermuda is excellent. I could talk for days about all the wonderful things to do there but for those attending meetings and conventions, there is no time during the day to enjoy these surroundings. That’s why their nightlife is so important and frankly, it is not the most exciting. Yes, they have some evening cruises around the island which I feel are beautiful, and they have the usual bars, but exciting nightlife is pretty much nonexistent. That may change as the island is considering the addition of three casinos. If they do it like Macau or Singapore, they will probably have a winner. If they do it like Atlantic City, they will probably fail.
Hope you have a chance to check out Bermuda someday.