Tourism Minister plans ahead with $1.5m less to spend
The Tourism Ministry purse took a five percent hit in the 2012/13 Budget.
The Ministry’s total budget was reduced from $30.245 million in 2011/12 to $28.7 million, a cut of around $1.5 million.
The bulk of the budget cut will hit Advertising & Promotion that area’s funding was cut by $1.145 million or around nine percent.
Promotions and trade shows were given a financial boost in the Budget of $100,000 (14 percent) and $63,000 (21 percent) respectively.
Government made major reductions to administrative costs, which were reduced by six percent or $129,000.
Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert yesterday noted that the bulk of the Ministry’s budget is dedicated to bringing visitors to the Island.
“Where we are now is not where we see ourselves in the future,” he said. “Out of the $29 million to spend on tourism, $20 million will be spent on actually getting tourists here, and that is the sales, marketing and promotion of tourism, and so our idea of moving Bermuda forward is looking at a new approach.”
Mr Furbert said he hopes an announcement regarding a new advertising agency for Bermuda will be made in the next few weeks. A five- to ten-year Tourism Plan will be revealed in May.
“We are very excited about the new creativity that this new ad agency has for Bermuda,” he said.
“We will continue with the Grand Slam, we will work closely with the Corporate Games, which will be in October; the [John] Lennon tribute, which is coming up in June of this year.”
Both he and Premier Paula Cox said that work was well underway to bringing a new hotel to Bermuda.
Said Mr Furbert: “We are 99.9 percent there, as the developer says, and so we hope to make that announcement, hopefully in the next month or so.
“Tourism is going to be moving ahead. We are excited that we see new business opportunities coming forward and with this $38 million that I am happy the Minister of Finance has given us [for the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism], we believe that we can work with this number moving Bermuda forward.”
Mrs Cox stressed the importance of the National Tourism Plan in her Budget Statement to Parliament.
“The plan will outline the path to the Ministry’s goal of repositioning Bermuda in the global tourism market and to become a year-round destination with the required products, services and marketing to support this goal,” she said.
“On completion of the plan, the Bermuda Department of Tourism will launch the new tourism brand for Bermuda as well as increase market awareness with daily exposure in all media streams..
“The Ministry has already increased awareness in our key feeder markets through effective television ads.”
Funding is in place to allow the Ministry to showcase local entertainers at hotels and host tourism events for visitors, Ms Cox added.
She also made reference to recent discussions between the Department of Tourism and the Bermuda Industrial Union aimed at reducing the high cost of building hotels, saying the results provide “reason for cautious optimism” that ground will be broken on a luxury brand hotel this year.