Tourism legislation creates opportunity
New tourism legislation is designed to create investment and employment opportunities for Bermudians, an island industry expert said last night.
Andy Burrows, chief investment officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said that the Tourism Investment Act looked “beyond hotel developers”.
Mr Burrows added: “It’s meant to provide incentives for Bermudians who want to invest in tourism and hospitality, and not just non-Bermudians.”
The Act, approved last month, aims to encourage hotel, restaurant and tourism development, including attractions, through reduced rate Customs duty, as well as other tax exemptions.
Mr Burrows said that the Hotels Concession Act focused on direct investment and new hotels, but the new legislation was meant to be “inclusive of Bermudians who want to invest”.
He said that the Act “is as much about job creation as it is about investment”.
Mr Burrows said the potential for 1,500 new hotel rooms on the island along with investment in restaurants and attractions “ought to spur employment opportunities for Bermudians in the tourism sector”.
He added he hoped the legislation “brings more Bermudians into the tourism economy through not just employment, but business ownership.”
Mr Burrows said the BTA wanted to help “streamline the process” to take no more than “three to six months” from an application to when a response is received from Government.
Mr Burrows said restaurants and attractions were included in the new legislation as a way to boost Bermuda’s entire tourism framework.
He said: “So when you come here, the experience that you have on a wonderful hotel property is the same experience you have when you go to attractions and restaurants.
“People, ultimately, don’t actually think about what they spend, but want to spend.”
Kevin Dallas, chief executive officer at the BTA, said the new Act opened up investment opportunities at “lower thresholds” than those for a major hotel.
Mr Dallas explained: “Before, to take advantage of any of these incentives, you had to be a hotel.
“Under the Tourism Investment Act, there are opportunities for Bermudians to get duty and payroll relief from investing in the tourism sector beyond just hotels.”
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