“‘Quo Fata Ferunt.’ Whither the Fates Carry Us. It’s not just Bermuda’s motto, it’s a declaration of our island’s perseverance. We will get through this, and when the time is right, Bermuda looks forward to welcoming you to our shores again.”

That was part of the message that Bermuda Tourism shared in their inspirational video published in late April. It caught our attention, and made us wonder about the path that they were following in the wake of COVID-19 — especially given that the island nation is so reliant on air service to bring in travelers.

I learned a lot in my conversation with Vic Isley, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which has learned to “act like Gumby” in their efforts, always adapting to new information that’s put forth and doing all they can to remain safe while also supporting their local economy.

They’ve done this well by following what they call an “inside-out” model that strikes a great balance between both head and heart — offering reassurance that visitors’ safety is the priority while also providing hope and inspiration.

Just as critically, Bermuda has been building up safety protocols and comfort levels within their own local area first, focusing on stakeholders like hotel partners, retailers, restaurateurs and outfitters. For instance, they were able to enable people within the community to come out in support in a socially distancing friendly way by promoting The Great Takeout Day, where local restaurants offered takeout, as well as got creative with al fresco dining options and setups.

As they widen that approach to international travelers and air travel, there has been much care taken to ensure it’s done so with caution. As Vic notes, a negative COVID test is required within 72 hours of departure, and travelers are tested again upon arrival. Right now, it’s critical that they are reflecting on all of this within their messaging and marketing so that it makes sense to aspirational or incoming travelers.

As Vic noted, travel is one of the most aspirational purchases we make as human beings. Now more than ever, that balance of messaging they are striking is key: “Bermuda is open. It’s safe and beautiful for you here. Here are the arrival protocols to ensure your and everyone’s safety.”