Jeff Schimmel. *Photo supplied
Jeff Schimmel. *Photo supplied

Dear SIR,

Let me say at the outset, I love Bermuda. I have visited twice, and was not only instantly captivated by its’ beauty, but quickly became enamoured of the Bermudian people. I’ve travelled the world, and I can’t recall being treated as warmly by literally everyone I encountered.

For these reasons, it is especially distressing to watch Bermuda’s tourism situation continue to spiral lower and lower into negative territory.  

Although I have a doctorate degree in law, for the past 25 years I have made my living as a writer/producer in television and film. I have worked with just about every movie studio and TV network, and have written and produced for Oscar winners and numerous A-list stars.

In 2010, I was asked by Bermuda Tourism to come up with a winning plan that would help the nation battle back against increasingly bad trends.  

I devised a project that would put Bermuda on the map and to introduce Bermuda into the consciousness of the American tourist. Frankly, most Americans have no idea where Bermuda is. No easy task, but I believe there is a creative, and potentially very successful, solution.  

Sadly, the project was not approved, but in 2013, I once again received a call from Bermuda Tourism. A request was made that I bring my project back to Bermuda for additional consideration. 

I spent quite a bit of time re-tooling and further developing my concepts. I created a five-tier plan that I was confident would work wonders for Bermuda.  Again, all it required was the right decision and a one-time investment. My project was designed to directly benefit the suffering Bermuda tourism industry.  

First, I would assemble a crew comprised of both industry professionals from LA and key employees in Bermuda, and set out to film a pilot episode for a high profile reality television series that would feature the people and wondrous locations in Bermuda. Series that are produced in America might show the glamorous sides of Beverly Hills and New York, but they are no match for the magnificence of Bermuda. I would then use all of my contacts in the entertainment industry, including the most powerful agents in Hollywood, to attempt to sell the series to networks in America and abroad. Just imagine a show from Bermuda being broadcast in the United States, watched by a million viewers. Each one hour episode would function, subliminally, as a commercial for Bermuda tourism.

Second, I would shoot footage to be used in several ways. I would build a distinct Bermuda channel on YouTube, so that anyone searching for “Bermuda” or “Tourism,” could watch great videos of all that Bermuda has to offer.

Next, I would produce several short videos for the Bermuda Tourism website. A single click would allow prospective tourists to watch what I call the “Perfect Family” enjoying a vacation in Bermuda. We would see beaches, restaurants, hotels and spas, water sports and yachts, golf courses, caves, the aquarium, downtown Hamilton, etc. 

You tell me, which do you think is a more successful method to convince people to visit Bermuda: still photos in a brochure or gorgeous videos?

Apparently, the powerful in Bermuda could not grasp the impact this project would have on tourism, and especially the citizens and businesses in Bermuda. When they balked, I did something I have never, ever done before — I cut the budget by two-thirds, including the removal of my own fee as creator, writer, and producer. That’s how much I believed in my project. In essence, I was willing to gamble on the future of Bermuda, but Bermuda was not willing to take the same kind of chance on me.

I grew up in New York, and frequently visited the Caribbean.  In fact, our family had an apartment in Puerto Rico.  And yet, once I witnessed the clear blue waters and pink beaches in Bermuda, and the friendly residents of the island, I was hooked. When I see that your tourism problem has not been solved, I shake my head and wish things had been different.

Those in charge of Bermuda tourism should take a step back and reconsider their decision.  For their own good, and more important, for the good of Bermudians in general.  They would not be risking very much in order to have a chance at salvation.  

I am still here, the project is still viable, and their predicament still plagues them.  As they say, the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.

If the Bermuda tourism officials fail to see the wisdom inherent in my proposal, then I would respectfully ask that businessmen and businesswomen contact me about the possibility of proceeding in a private manner.  

Jeff Schimmel