DeSilva champions superyachts

  • Zane DeSilva, the tourism minister, speaks at the Bermuda Tourism Summit (Photograph supplied)

    Zane DeSilva, the tourism minister, speaks at the Bermuda Tourism Summit (Photograph supplied)

Tourism minister Zane DeSilva championed efforts to tap into the superyacht industry as he spoke at the Bermuda Tourism Summit at the Fairmont Southampton.

Mr DeSilva’s comments are copied below and are also in the PDF under “Related Media”.

Thank you, Kevin, and good morning, everyone! I’m delighted to open this 2019 edition of the Bermuda Tourism Summit: it’s encouraging to see such a diverse gathering of stakeholders—from industry, Government and entrepreneurial ventures—coming together to brainstorm here today.

You are the key to the future of Bermuda’s tourism industry. Your energy, ideas and vision will help us forge the way forward in sustainable, inclusive, progressive ways that benefit Bermuda and Bermudians.

To those who are attending for the first time, thank you. As former Premier , Alex Scott always said, Bermuda works best when we work together!

Collaboration is our competitive edge—in tourism and everything else we do—and I know it matters to all of you. Working in partnership is imperative. Our Government, including my Ministry, understand that, and it’s why we act as a key partner alongside the BTA to help progress the National Tourism Plan. The Government is an essential piece of that puzzle, as are all of you, and each of us has a critical role to play.

We take that responsibility very seriously. Let me highlight a few recent examples of the power of partnership—ways in which our Government has played a leading role to help Bermuda advance the goals of the National Tourism Plan:

The first is ground-breaking work the Government carried out this summer to pave the way for a new sector that promises significant economic benefits to our island.

A warning: I’m going to say the “S-word”!


The economic contribution of this industry—through onshore spending and job creation—are clear. Importantly, it’s also a sector that ties in neatly with one of four target audiences identified by the BTA as representing the biggest potential for Bermuda’s tourism growth. The Tourism Plan calls them “Jetsetters.”

This summer, our Government passed a landmark bill—“The Superyachts and Other Vessels Act.” Among other provisions, it will allow boats 24 metres or larger to acquire transit, cruising and charter permits depending on their length of stay.

It also waives duty for Bermuda resident owners of these-sized yachts if they want to bring them here for less than six months. It’s worth noting that part of the legislation also delivers tax relief to our local commercial boat operators, many of whom are among you here today.

This legislative reform takes effect January 1st and it really underscores the way Government can add practical value to a strategic plan. The legal framework that’s been created is forward-looking and allows us to start competing as a bona-fide cruising and chartering destination.

I took the opportunity to promote Bermuda in this sphere by speaking to superyacht owners, captains and brokers at the recent Monaco Yacht Show. Again, it was “Team Bermuda” in action, with Government, private industry, and public-private agencies working side-by-side to achieve a national win—and we look forward to seeing Bermuda reap the benefits.

Another example of the Government’s commitment to tourism priorities will be on full display up de country at the end of this month. I’m talking about Port Royal Golf Course, where the prestigious PGA TOUR: Bermuda Championship starts on Oct. 31st.

The Government has teamed with the BTA, the PGA TOUR, and operators Bruno Events, to bring this world-class tournament to Bermuda and make it a multi-year success. Again, it aligns with one of the missions set out in our National Tourism Plan to attract key sports relevant to Bermuda—and golf is one of them. Being able to leverage this top-rated public course as the staging ground for a championship that will capture the world’s attention is something we’re very proud of.

Hosting this Historic tournament here in Bermuda also gives 4 of our Bermudian golfers the opportunity of a lifetime. We have a Bermudian only Qualifier this week, which will see 18 Bermudians – 13 pros and 5 amateurs compete for three spots. Dwayne Pearman, our long time ambassador, and a past champion in just about every golf tournament held here in Bermuda will get an automatic spot.

A final example of the value the Government can bring to the tourism table revolve around transport and infrastructure reform. As you know, my Ministry has ambitious goals to improve our island’s transportation network, and we set those out in a Green Paper that was tabled in Parliament this past spring.

Today’s Summit also represents a robust example of the synergy I’m talking about—bringing together the combined energy and talents of the Government, of small and large businesses, of public-private agencies, of individuals and global thought-leaders, across demographics, for the good of Bermuda tourism.

I thank you all—and a special thank you to the BTA for hosting today’s event. Our economy is expanding and our Government encourages you to explore new opportunities created by some of this collaborative innovation.

With that said, I wish you an inspiring and productive conference—and I look forward to working with all of you to take our tourism industry to new heights.

Thank you.

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Published Oct 17, 2019 at 10:28 am (Updated Oct 17, 2019 at 10:28 am)

DeSilva champions superyachts

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