Burt seeks tourism innovation
David Burt, the Premier, feels that “a little bit of deregulation” and innovation are key to boosting tourism.
Speaking yesterday at the Bermuda Tourism Summit 2017 at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, Mr Burt said: “We have a very ingrained psyche in Bermuda where we often want to say no.
“The fact is the only way that we are going to create jobs, the only way that we are going to increase the amount of tourism, and the only way that we are going to get people to leave a little bit more money in our economy than they would have, is if we do a little bit of deregulation, a little bit of innovation, and we make sure we say yes to more things instead of saying no.”
He thanked industry representatives and said: “Seven consecutive quarters of tourism industry growth does not happen by accident.”
Mr Burt said tourism was the sector of the island’s economy growing the “most impressively and the most reliably”.
He added other areas of the economy faced “serious threats” that required “fierce fights”.
Mr Burt said an estimated $55 million more had been pumped into the local economy this year thanks to increased air visitor spending in the first nine months of 2017, compared with the same period for last year.
He added: “That is a strong economic performance by any measure, and I hope that this spending is felt across our community in all aspects of the tourism economy.”
Mr Burt highlighted the Tourism Investment Act as work Government was doing to “assist the sustainability” of the island’s tourism rebirth.
He said incentives in the Act were designed to spur local employment as well as encourage hotel development.
Mr Burt added that similar incentives were also available for hotel refurbishment, restaurant projects and tourism attractions.
He added: “If you are a Bermudian business owner of a restaurant or a visitor attraction, or planning to reinvest in our product, or an entrepreneur looking to invest in the tourism industry, have a close look at the Tourism Investment Act.”
“The playing field is now more balanced.”
Mr Burt said that job preparedness also commanded the Government’s “cross-ministry attention”.
Mr Burt predicted hundreds of jobs would be created by the opening of the St Regis, the Ritz Carlton and Azura in the coming years.
He said the development of the gaming sector would also create opportunities for Bermudians.
Mr Burt added: “This government will continue to do its part to ensure that young Bermudians understand what these opportunities are, and how they can prepare themselves to seize the opportunities that will present themselves in the future.”
Mr Burt said he was confident Paul Telford, chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, would do a fine job in his new position.
Mr Telford was appointed last month by Jamahl Simmons, Minister of Tourism.
The Premier said Mr Simmons would continue to “press for results” from Mr Telford and the BTA.
He added: “As long as the results continue, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the board will continue to share the Government’s full confidence.”
Mr Burt said that the work of the BTA over the last two years was “to be commended”.
He added: “It is my expectation that the growth that we have seen over the last two years will continue.”
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