Let’s put new tourism plan into action, says Princess GM

  • Jobs growth: The number of jobs in tourism will grow substantially in coming years, according to the tourism plan

    Jobs growth: The number of jobs in tourism will grow substantially in coming years, according to the tourism plan

  • Cheryl Hayward-Chew, Meyer Group CEO.

    Cheryl Hayward-Chew, Meyer Group CEO.

  • Len Czarnecki, general manager of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess

    Len Czarnecki, general manager of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess

Mike Harrison: “We have to change our surly, ‘don’t care’ attitude that we currently offer up to our visitors, in our shops, our restaurants and at the airport.”
Robert Bryce:” The ideas put forward in the Tourism Plan are simple, logical and could have been put together free of charge many years ago, and so unfortunately unlikely to succeed until the mindset of Government ... is changed.”
Nasri: “What about guns and gangs?”
Albert Sodergren: “Any mention of where these high end visitors might end up staying? How are all those promised hotels coming along? Remember it will take the best part of 3 years to build a new hotel.”
Karl Marx: “If the Tourism Ministry couldn’t capitalise on the history of the town of St. George and the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (which they have allowed to turn into a ghost town due to a lack of concern and a lack of innovative and creative solutions), what hope is there for St. Davids?”
Cathy Smith: “I just did a quick search for flights from Boston to Bermuda for June 19-June 23 and the hotel HP came up (expedia) for a price of $2,728. No other choices.
Another quick search, same dates, to Jamaica showed many choices of All-Inclusive hotels including air, hotel, food and drink for approx. $1,284 (Riu Negril), $1,102 ( another Riu property) and many other properties for as low as $781. And that...I believe....is why the tourism in Bermuda is failing.”
JDS Bman: “Globally, the Bermuda brand isn’t even sick... it’s nonexistent. It will cost money to operate tourism campaigns outside of Bermuda, yes, but what’s going on right now isn’t working. Let a professional advertising agency get Bermuda’s name out there, and not just to Americans in the north east.”
SDLP: “Tourism’s only chance is Gambling, and I can tell you without any hesitation that I will be voting yes for gaming. It is the only ace in the hole that we have left, and whether the church wants it or not, it is coming.”

—- Source royalgazette.com comments

Tourists year-round, a bustling Hamilton waterfront filled with designer boutiques, highly marketed eco tours and water sports adventures, a major new conference centre, a nautical tourism niche with full-service marinas —- and all of this anchored by a grand casino.

Add to that an ambitious projection that jobs in the Tourism Industry will double from 3,600 to more than 6,000, or 15 percent of the job pool, in just ten years.

It’s the vision of Government’s new National Tourism Plan, which aims to promote Bermuda as “the treasure of the Atlantic” and an “innovative, modern and sophisticated year-round destination”.

Sounds great, but will it be acted upon in full, or will this latest plan to fix tourism end up being filed away like other plans?

That was a concern of tourism industry leaders we spoke to, whether or not the plan impressed them.

“The plan for the most part makes sense but that means nothing without action,” said Cheryl Hayward-Chew, CEO of travel and shipping firm Meyer Group.

“It is dependent on the Government’s support, on the Government departments working together as a team (Transport, Tourism, Immigration etc) and on private business and investors’ support. Private investors are not going to let go of their capital until they are confident that government can, as a team, consistently move forward with the plan’s implementation.”

Len Czarnecki, the general manager of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, said overall he felt the plan was “on the right track”.

He commented: “The way Bermuda has been broken down into various destination hubs allows us to see the breadth of the Island’s offerings to tourists.

“I, personally, look forward to initiatives that capitalise on our beautiful water and reef system. Travellers today want something new and exciting and there are elements in the plan that strive to deliver that, as well as an authentic Bermudian experience.

“While we already have some fantastic high-end retail shopping on the island, I think that through the new plan we will be able to attract even more luxury retailers and also broaden the range and quality of products and services available to tourists.”

Mr Czarnecki said he was pleased the plan also touched on the need for taking more pride in tourism.

“I also think the plan addresses a perceived lack of pride in the sector,” he said. “I am encouraged by a number of initiatives, particularly a programme by the Bermuda Hospitality Institute that is targeting elementary schools to teach young people how they can play an important role in Bermuda’s success story by being involved in the hospitality and tourism industries.

“We need to get back to the mindset that hospitality is a respectable and rewarding career option, and I’m pleased that there’s a portion in the National Tourism Plan to help cultivate this way of thinking for the next generation of island ambassadors.”

He added: “Now that we have a National Tourism Plan, it’s time to actually put these ideas into motion and take action.”

President and CEO of Cambridge Beaches resort Michael Winfield, like others we sought reaction from, said he could not comment too much because he was a Tourism Board member.

But he did say “the plan is both bold and detailed and there is a great deal of work to be done”.

However, Meyer Group chairman and former St George’s Mayor Henry Hayward said he was disappointed in the plan and that it did not contain more on boosting St George’s.

“I have gone over the plan several times and I am afraid that I am not impressed,” Mr Hayward said. ”Again we have a very attractive presentation costing thousands of dollars repeating the same things that we have been talking about for years going back to David Allen’s days.”

The new Tourism Plan cited these as the “top challenges” to fix:

1. Lack of clear positioning and brand identity

2. High competition

3. Limited demand drivers

4. Highly seasonality; low occupancy rates

5. Air vs cruise imbalance and lack of focused market strategy

6. Limited quality of products and services

7. Limited local human resources capacity and lack of pride in sector

8. Transportation challenges: air lift, land and water circulations

9. Need for further inter-ministerial cooperation, continuity and PPP

10. Low investment appeal: high investment costs and high operational costs

And the Tourism Plan cited the following as Bermuda’s “top strengths” to build on:

1. Historical legacy as high-end destination

2. Unique cultural and natural resources with international appeal

3. Distinctive tourism hubs

4. High end market appeal

5. Strong cruise market arrivals; yachters and boat market with high potential

6. Business reputation, developing products for business tourists

7. High repetition rate

8. Successful collaborations and PPP (Public Private Partnership)

9. Proximity to major key source markets

10. Passionate people

The $182,365 Tourism Plan was produced by Europraxis Tourism & Leisure Advisory Services. They worked on Antigua’s new Sustainable Tourism Development Plan to guide hotel investment and a master plan for the Belize tourism industry.

This is Part 1 of a series of articles looking at the new National Tourism Plan.

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Published Jun 22, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated Jun 22, 2012 at 7:55 am)

Let’s put new tourism plan into action, says Princess GM

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