Blue Economy cited as tourism plan centrepiece is revealed
The Blue Economy
The Blue Economy is not a new concept — author and Zero Emissions Research founder and director Gunter Pauli developed the theory over the last 30 years.
The concept is for businesses to use resources in a cascading system where waste from one product is used towards the next business — it is a business model with environmental concerns at its core, and has been described as a means for further development of the green economy.
A Tourism Development Act will broaden concessions to tourism investors, and will make provisions for training Bermudians and for the development and hiring of Bermudian entertainment while replacing the Hotels Concession Act 2000, it was announced in yesterdays Speech from the Throne.
The new legislation was described as the centrepiece of our tourism plan... by Governor George Fergusson, who was reading the speech. The aim of the new legislation is to update the existing Act, and allow luxury items to be considered for redefinition as necessary development incentives. The provision for the training (of) Bermudians, and development and hiring of Bermuda entertainment, Mr Fergusson read: ... will keep Bermudians in the frame for jobs.
However, Bermuda Chamber of Commerce President Ronnie Viera said the initiatives did not go far enough. He said: The Chamber was ... concerned that no mention was made of efforts to stimulate investment in hotel properties by removing the red tape and immigration barriers currently stymieing progress.
One Bermuda Alliance Shadow Minister for Tourism Shawn Crockwell noted that no new tourism act was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, although many new pieces of legislation were. Bermuda Hotel Association President John Harvey said he was not in a position to comment on the new legislation.
Doubling Bermudas tourist air arrivals in the next decade was a restated goal in yesterdays Throne Speech. In a bid to accomplish this, Mr Fergusson read: Business leaders and government officials have been dispatched across the globe to spread the word about what makes Bermuda the Pearl of the Atlantic.
It was one of an array of announcements and initiatives, with the attractions of the ocean surrounding Bermuda as a recurring theme. They ranged from the reopening of St Georges Golf Course to medical tourism, and included the provision of a new style of residency for those visitors who purchase tourism zoned units. That concept was met with a luke-warm response from the Chamber of Commerce. Mr Viera said: While pleased with the announcement that Government will provide a form of residency for those investing in tourism zoned units, the Chamber questioned why the same consideration should not be offered to those purchasing any property at the very top end of the market.
Mr Crockwell said: We agree with anything that promotes jobs for Bermudians in the (tourism) industry. Developing sports tourism, eco tourism and medical tourism is certainly a good idea, but he called the announcement that St Georges Golf Course will be reopened somewhat suspicious ... here on the eve of an election. He also said the ten-year plan to double air arrival numbers was futile ... people need solutions; these issues need to be addressed now. We think this is just elementary.
Premier Paula Coxs visit to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region may pay dividends with the announcement that: Qatar wishes to find win-win opportunities to partner with Bermuda. Hotel development is one of the areas that a newly created Government GCC task force announced in the throne speech is to pursue, as is a new airport.
Water tourism was included in the announcement of the development of a National Aquaculture Strategy, which will initiate the development of several additional industries. The goal of: ... transforming Bermuda into the worlds leader in the Blue Economy, described by US-based Brookings Institution as a $500 billion-and-growing global water technology business sector, was announced. Moving toward that goal, yesterdays speech referred to the National Tourism Plan rolled out earlier this year, which includes the promotion of underwater tourism by taking advantage of the shipwrecks in Bermudas coastal waters.
Medical tourism utilising hospital facilities currently under construction on Point Finger Road is to be promoted, while sports and culture tourism, wildlife and eco-tourism, as well as business and entertainment tourism were also restated elements of the National Tourism Plan yesterday.
Bermuda has too much to offer to be a seasonal destination only, too special to be limited to summer visitors only, stated the Throne Speech, and is one method by which Government hopes to start the process of doubling air arrivals. The new form of residency for tourists who purchase tourism zoned units is also geared to reducing seasonality, as well as aiding a tourism recovery.
The ultimate goal is to have more tourists spend more money year round. That means more stable, good paying jobs in the tourism industry for Bermudians.
It was also announced that some 340,000 cruise ship visitors are anticipated to pump more than an estimated $80 million into the Islands economy in 2013.
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