BERMUDIAN CHARLES JEFFERS II TAKES THE LEAD AT THE BTA
By Annabel Cooper
New chief executive officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), Charles Jeffers II, has come full circle. From a teenage busboy in the Newport Room of the Southampton Princess to the Island’s tourism chief at the age of 54. Here he tells RGMags why he loves Bermuda and how he plans to encourage the world to come and see us.
Why did you want the job with the BTA?
I spent this past year putting everything in perspective. My life, and that of my wife and children. My parents and in-laws are all in Bermuda. I thought it would be a great opportunity, not only for personal reasons but professional reasons too.
Tourism has been decimated and we’re in the process of trying to rebuild the industry. With my 26-plus years of destination marketing I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to my country and be near my family.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up on Parsons Road and went to Central School, which became Victor Scott. From there I went to Berkeley (Institute). I did three years there before being sent to boarding school. I went to Maine Central Institute. I didn’t own a real coat until I got there!
What is your priority as CEO of the BTA?
I have three. Looking at the culture of the organisation, ensuring we are connected to the community and having a customer focused mindset.
We really need to focus on how we, as an organisation, can be advocates for the industry and customers we’re trying to attract. We want to involve the community in helping us rebuild the industry and assist us with making decisions on things that are going to impact tourism moving forward.
When someone asks why they should visit Bermuda, what do you tell them?
The people. Bermudians in general are very friendly. There’s more to Bermuda than just the beach and the beauty of the Island. If you don’t feel welcome, that beauty can be overshadowed.
What do you hope to achieve over the next five to 10 years and how?
I’m not as interested in growing the profile of the BTA as I am in the profile of the industry and Bermuda as a tourist destination. I want Bermudians to be proud of it.
Every destination should be constantly looking at what they can do to improve their physical standards. There’s a number of groups of people – hearing impaired, vision impaired or other challenges, Bermuda has not traditionally looked at those things. I think there are things we can do to put ourselves in better standing.
We want easy access for all of our visitors, like taking advantage of our beautiful water and being able to travel from the airport to your hotel via water taxi. What if there were water taxi spots?
What do you do when not working?
I spend time with my family and friends. I like to travel. I enjoy sporting events. I have a Big Green Egg and cook all sorts of things on that. My favourite thing to cook is a brisket! It’s a two-day process. It’s divine.
Where is your favourite Island spot?
Minister Renee Ming has a walk she does in St. George’s and I love to do those with her group. Even though I’m a St. George’s Cup Match man, I didn’t spend much time there in my youth. It’s great to see the old town from a different perspective.