WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: Bermuda should be exploring ways of stimulating ‘nostalgia tourism’ and attracting back families that used to live on the island’s military bases.
That’s the view of St George’s Mayor Kenny Bascome as he called on government to take advantage of a massive untapped pool of visitors.
Mr Bascome’s comments come after the new National Tourism Plan was unveiled on Monday night.
He told the Sun tourism bosses should stop wasting money trying to sell Bermuda as a summer destination because the island’s climate and beautiful beaches already sell themselves.
Mr Bascome said: “Bermuda has the opportunity to rejuvenate itself if we focus on nostalgia tourism.
“We have had tens of thousands of people who have lived on the island when the Baselands were open.
“Many had children that were born in Bermuda while they were here too.
“This is a massive market and a big tourism opportunity that we are missing out on at the moment.
“We should be working on attracting them back to Bermuda.
“”We are so close to the Eastern seaboard and a lot of those families that were stationed here on the bases now live in and around there.
“This is an opportunity we have never really pursued.”
Mr Bascome said that genealogy tourism was another area that should be looked at to boost visitor numbers.
Just this week a group of American visitors descended from one of the original Sea Venture passengers travelled to the island on board the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship.
The party, many of whom were direct relations of Stephen Hopkins who landed in Bermuda on the Sea Venture in 1609, visited St George’s on Monday and toured the Olde Towne.
Mr Bascome added: “Over the years I have come across several visitors who either lived on the bases or were born while their family lived on the bases and wanted to come back and visit the island.
“But there is much more we could be doing to encourage these people to return to their roots in Bermuda for a holiday.
“There’s no need to waste money on selling Bermuda in the summer. It sells itself.
“We should be concentrating on nostalgia tourism or even genealogy tourism to get more people in.
“Bermuda has an incredibly rich and interesting history and we need to take advantage of that and attract people who already have a link or a connection to the island.”