Prevue asked Karin A. Darrell, Bermuda Department of Tourism’s partnership manager, her thoughts on sustainability trends for 2011.
Q: What are the latest trends you’re seeing revolving around sustainability?
A: We have certainly noticed more planners requesting information on the “green” aspects of various properties and venues with meeting space. Groups and group planners are increasingly conscious of the carbon footprint they are making when they travel. Many planners are also requesting a list of sustainable and outdoor-related activities in Bermuda for groups. The idea of taking the time to learn something about the destination you are visiting and its environment has become more significant.
Q: How are you promoting sustainability?
A: We recently hosted the 12th Annual Sustainable Tourism Conference in conjunction with the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Through a series of events, the Department of Tourism helped facilitate discussions with key industry leaders and media on sustainable tourism.
Q: What are some popular sustainable group experiences?
A: Bermuda has numerous nature reserves and institutes for learning about the species that inhabit the island.
• Dolphin Quest Bermuda offers a variety of fun in-water and out-of-water programs for groups large and small. Lessons from Dolphins, Dolphin Quest’s newest team-building adventure, shows how trainers effectively work with dolphins and how the lessons dolphins teach us can be directly implemented into the workplace. In addition to being an exhilarating and memorable experience, a portion of the proceeds from participation in a Dolphin Quest Bermuda programme supports vital marine education, conservation and research. (dolphinquest.com/bermuda)
• The Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) offers a free tour of their unique facilities on Wednesday mornings. In “low” season, BIOS offers the Road Scholar Program, where participants stay at BIOS for a week, hear talks by BIOS speakers, and go on field trips. (bios.edu)
• The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) is a state-of-the-art venue for events. The ocean discovery center’s mission is to advance knowledge of the ocean and encourage its preservation. (buei.org)
• The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) features 26 tanks full of Bermuda marine life, and the pink flamingos make it a uniquely Bermuda experience. Groups can have private tours of the exhibits and speak to a diver submerged in the 140,000 gallon North Rock Tank which is equipped with two-way communications. (bamz.org)
Q: How is group feedback about sustainability evolving?
A: We listen to our group planners and know that sustainable meetings and tourism are important, with new ideas and designs always coming onto the scene. We are using this feedback to research and brainstorm innovative ideas with our partners that make our meetings business so successful.