Bermuda will show off its credentials as a year-round adventure destination at the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s (BTA) Rediscover the Rail Trail event on Sunday, March 5th. At Shelly Bay Park, part of the history-rich Railway Trail, a slew of outdoor activities will be available to the public for free — everything from paddleboards and kayaks to soca-size and boot camp training. The organizers of the BTA-sponsored Bermuda Triple Challenge, happening March 17 to 19, are also previewing their event with a mini beach obstacle course. Meantime, on the Rail Trail between Shelly Bay and Bailey’s Bay novel activities are planned including fishing off the rocks and seaside yoga.
“We want to inspire everyone — particularly entrepreneurs — to reimagine the potential of the Rail Trail as a tourism asset,” said Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer at the BTA. “Bermuda now attracts a visitor who is younger and more adventurous, and we believe that creates new business opportunities for Bermudian entrepreneurs. The Rail Trail is one of those opportunities — it’s an underutilized asset with tremendous potential in the tourism economy.”
On the same weekend, the BTA will host adventure travel planners eager to learn about the kinds of experiences Bermuda can offer to their clients. The travel planners will take part in Sunday’s activities, including a mountain bike ride on the Rail Trail. Visitors and locals who enjoy walking, running or mountain biking are the target audience for the event. Starting at Shelly Bay Park, participants are exposed to a menu of health and wellness experiences that not only include what’s mentioned above, but also the opportunity for time with a nutrition consultant, a personal trainer, and a nurse, providing free health check-ups. Argus and the Department of Health partnered with the BTA to provide these services. Healthy food and beverage options will also be on-hand. At the turnaround point of Sunday’s trek, Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, One Communications will offer a rest stop which includes a free Wi-Fi hotpot. The Recharge Lounge, as it’s being called, is set up to encourage participants to post pictures from the day to social media using #RailTrailBDA. The lounge area will also be a hub of cultural activity with gombeys, live steel pan music and a rum swizzle bar. As participants leave to return to Shelly Bay, gombeys will lead the way on the Trail.
“The Rail Trail is a mix of health and wellness and heritage and culture and we’re grateful to our sponsors and partners who helped ensure Sunday’s event reflects that,” said Glenn Jones, director of public and stakeholder relations for the BTA. “Obviously we want everyone to come and have a great time, but truthfully it’s more important to the BTA that, over time, we generate new tourism ideas and stimulate visitor spending. That’s how we’ll judge whether or not our efforts around the Rail Trail are successful.”
Ms Phillip-Fairn said: “We hope locals help us spread the word. If you see a visitor let them know about this event and tell them your own Railway Trail memories. For me, it’s riding bicycles with my son and bravely climbing trees to pick loquats. Everyone’s memory is probably a little different but chances are: if it meant something to you, it’ll mean something to a visitor.”
Those planning to attend the free Rediscover the Rail Trail event should register online by March 3rd, to sign-up for their free activity preferences. The first 150 pre-registrants to show up at Shelly Bay on March 5th will receive a One Communications t-shirt as a gift. The BTA will follow up with a second Rail Trail event in November in the west end. The event times in March and November are strategically positioned to be in the shoulder season of the tourism calendar, the time frame the BTA is trying to beef up the island’s credentials as a year-round destination.