AC turnout better than in tourism heyday’
The resounding success of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Bermuda weekend has sparked fresh optimism for the potential rebirth of the City of Hamilton.
The sailing spectacle, which attracted huge crowds to Front Street and provided a major boost to local businesses, could pave the way for future pedestrianisation, al fresco dining, market stalls and outdoor entertainment.
Businessman and former premier Sir John Swan hailed the weekend’s popularity as surpassing the success of events held in Hamilton during the Island’s tourism heyday.
He told ‘The Royal Gazette’ it also re-enforced the need for a “people’s park” or communal space in the city.
“Nothing in Bermuda has ever occurred like this past weekend,” he said. “We’ve never experienced anything like it.
“Bermudians conducted themselves in the most superb manner and the sailing fraternity was beyond pleased with the result.
“We should take it as a wake-up call of opportunity and treat it as something that can continue.
“It’s not a one-off that Bermuda has no control over. We must control our destiny and think, ‘what is for the greater good of the country?’.”
Sir John urged Bermudians to participate in the establishment of a “people’s park” that would be owned by the people, adding: “This would be the most significant change Hamilton would see. It would be the beginning of a new phase of Bermuda, to show where we should be heading.”
Kendaree Burgess, the executive director of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the organisation was looking at new ways of promoting the city after the America’s Cup World Series.
“The Chamber is thrilled with the way Bermuda and Bermudians showcased themselves over the Louis Vuitton World Series event,” she said.
“We are a strong supporter and proponent of changing the legislation with regards to al fresco food and beverage operations and of pedestrianised streets, especially during holidays and at large events. The weekend was flawlessly executed, proving that we can meet the world’s expectations for world-class sporting events.”
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said the Corporation’s priority remained solving its significant financial challenges.
“It was really nice to see the city streets absolutely full of people,” he added. “I’m hoping that in 2017 and possibly even in 2016, depending on how things develop with the America’s Cup, the city is really enabled to have another chance at this and it’s going to be by showing everybody what’s possible.
“Whether it be with the open-air vendors or open-air dining, whatever it is that can be done in a way where we possibly can let go of the over-restrictive laws that we already have in place.”
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