A little off-season rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the 65 attendees at The Opus Group’s 16th Edition Leadership Summit, held last week at the gracious Elbow Beach Bermuda Resort.
For many of the planners, it has been 10 to 20 years since they last visited the island, which has undergone a transformation in that period from a tourism-based economy to one driven primarily by international business.
“We were pleased to showcase Bermuda to this high-level group of planners and industry executives and to feature the changes in Bermuda and exciting activities around America’s Cup taking place in 2017,” says Christopher Perks, president of The Opus Group. “Our attendees experienced exceptional business networking opportunities throughout the program.”
Tourism in Bermuda rebounded this year after a decade-long decline, with the largest number of airline visitors to arrive in Bermuda since 2008. The island nation is buzzing with excitement about hosting the 2017 America’s Cup next May. The race starts with the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup qualifiers on May 26 and the top challenger will race the defending champions, Oracle Team USA, on June 17. Hotels are offering special packages that include access to the race, and there are still rooms available.
The charming village of St. George’s will be the port for Norwegian Cruise Line, which will start sailing there in 2017. There are also plans for a new 122-room St. Regis hotel on the former Club Med property in St. George’s, the first new hotel in decades. It is expected to open in 2019. Gaming is also coming closer to becoming a reality here, with recent revisions in gaming legislation that will open the door to casinos in two initial locations, the St. Regis and the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
A 16-Year Tradition
The Leadership Summit brings planners and suppliers together each year for three days of networking, golf and activities, and culminates in a silent auction benefiting the destination. In this case, proceeds went to the World Heritage Center in St. George’s, which also hosted a lively evening event complete with Colonial re-enactors and Gombey dancers. Other highlights included an elegant dinner at the Fairmont Southampton’s historic waterfront inn, the Waterlot, and lunch at the Hamilton Princess, which just completed a $100 million overhaul that has transformed the property.
The host hotel for the event, Elbow Beach Bermuda, rolled out the red carpet for the attendees with a beautiful opening reception in its Lido restaurant/nightclub complex, which was decked out for the holiday season, including cozy fireplaces ablaze on all the widescreen TVs.
“We owe special thanks to our outstanding host hotel, Elbow Beach, and all of the destination hosts for delivering an incentive quality experience for our Summit guests,” adds Perks.
Additional hosts included Bermuda Tourism Authority and Select Sites Group. Prevue magazine is the official media sponsor for the Leadership Summit, which is in its 16th year.