Tourism authority sees $1m increase
New cash for the island’s tourism quango will be earmarked to prepare Bermudians for the hospitality workforce.
Jamahl Simmons, Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, said: “Tourism growth and success must include Bermudians at every level of our tourism industry, and provide not just employment opportunities, but career pathways as well.”
Mr Simmons on Monday announced that the budget for the Bermuda Tourism Authority would be increased by $1 million to $26 million. He said that $400,000 of the extra cash would be used to train Bermudians for tourism-based employment opportunities. Mr Simmons added that $500,000 would be used to match funds for marketing partnerships “to open up new opportunities for Bermuda”. He added: “These initiatives may be geographic, targeted at a specific visitor segment or event opportunity.”
He said the funds would give the BTA added “credibility as they pursue business tourism development on behalf of Bermuda”.
Mr Simmons added: “A separate accounting of these funds will be given to government.”
The remaining $100,000 will be used to back new businesses as part of the BTA’s attempt to boost activities on the island’s beaches.
Mr Simmons said a plan for improved visitor services and environmentally conscious economic activity in a “limited number” of Bermuda’s National Parks had received “broad buy in from stakeholders”.
Mr Simmons explained the cash would help get the initiative “up and running”.
He added: “Overall, our tourism industry contributes 23 per cent of total government revenue, 5 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product, and 8 per cent of total jobs.
“Given this contribution, it’s encouraging to see the tourism industry moving in a positive direction, because whether you are part of the tourism economy or not, a good performance by this key pillar of our economy stands to benefit all Bermudians.”
Mr Simmons said staff at the BTA, along with the Bermuda Business Development Agency and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, were doing “phenomenal work” for the people of Bermuda. He added: “We look forward to even bigger and greater things in the years ahead.”
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