DeSilva promotes island in Monaco
Tourism minister Zane DeSilva and a Bermuda delegation visited Monaco to encourage billionaires to bring their superyachts to the island.
One local industry expert, who attended the Monaco Yacht Show from September 23 to 26, believed that the efforts to tap into the lucrative market could result in “revenue that Bermuda has never had before”.
Mr DeSilva delivered a speech at the Superyacht Finance Forum.
He told the audience: “Most people in this room will know that Bermuda hosted the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 and it was a great success, for both the event and for the island.”
The politician was joined at the forum by Nicholas Sansom, the chief business development officer at the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority.
The website for the forum lists the BSMA and Bermuda Yacht Registry as the lunch sponsor.
Andy Burrows, the chief executive of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, and Mark Soares, the owner of Bermuda Yacht Services, were also in Monaco.
Questions sent to the Government and the BDA about the trip, including costs, were not responded to by press time yesterday.
Mr DeSilva told attendees at the forum that the 2017 sailing race had “attracted close to 100 superyachts to Bermuda”.
He added: “Fifty-one of those superyachts participated in the superyacht programme that was created especially to support this internationally recognised event.”
Mr DeSilva used his speech to tout the Superyachts and Other Vessels (Miscellaneous) Act, which passed in July to encourage superyachts to visit Bermuda.
The Bill creates new transit and cruising permits for pleasure craft and superyachts, along with charter permits for superyachts, and removes passenger departure tax for pleasure craft.
Similar regulations designed to allow superyachts to charter out while docked in Bermuda were relaxed for the America’s Cup, but the changes were temporary and ended with the conclusion of the competition.
Mr DeSilva said the legislation was anticipated to take effect in January.
He added: “Bermuda is committed to growing our island’s tourism economy, and the new superyacht programme represents an exciting opportunity for us to do that.
“So please join us in Bermuda.”
Mr Soares said that the island was also represented at the Bermuda Breakfast, an event hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Transport and the BDA in collaboration with luxury yachting lifestyle magazine Boat International.
He said that key industry representatives, including charter brokers and superyacht owners, attended the event at the Monaco Yacht Club, where details of the new superyacht laws were shared.
Both Mr DeSilva and Mr Burrows spoke at the event.
Mr Soares said the event was “well received”.
He added: “I had quite a few questions afterwards. There was a lot of interest from the charter brokers.”
Mr Soares said that the new law to make superyachts more welcome in Bermuda’s waters “only makes sense”.
He added: “I don’t expect we are going to turn into a massive charter destination overnight, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and another pillar of tourism for Bermuda.”
Under the new legislation 6 per cent of the gross charter fee will go to the Government.
Mr Soares said the any cost to the Bermuda taxpayer borne by to the trip by island representatives was likely to provide a good return.
He explained: “One of my clients who’s very keen to come next summer and do a couple weeks of charter, he charters for $365,000 a week.
“So do the 6 per cent math on that and you’ll see how quickly the money comes back and how this is actually a revenue earner for the Government.
“You get a couple of boats, literally a couple of boats doing a couple of weeks, and you’re talking revenue that Bermuda has never had before.”
Mr Soares added: “We also know that boats of that size can be spending anywhere up to $100,000 a week into the economy. So it’s a bit of a no-brainer.”
Mr Soares said that whatever amount the Government had spent on the Monaco trip “will easily be recouped by a few charters taking place in Bermuda — which is an absolute reality”.
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