AC may bring ‘investment beyond tourism’
The America's Cup could inspire international investment in more than just the tourism sector, according to Grant Gibbons.
The Minister of Economic Development said the ACBDA was working on finding and encouraging investment in the island.
“One of the things that we have done at all the World Series events in the UK, Chicago and New York is both the BDA and the BTA have organised smaller events with potential investors and those interested in doing business in Bermuda,” he said. “It's a nice way to get people together. There's a degree of excitement during a World Series event. It's a nice way to talk about Bermuda and talk about the sorts of investment possibilities that exist here.
“One of the things the Legacy Committee is working on is a pitch book, providing a publication of opportunities for investment in Bermuda, which can be shared with the people who are now interested in investing in Bermuda.”
He said investment in the tourism sector was just one of the options being promoted, along with the opportunities to invest in the financial services industry or even local charities.
Dr Gibbons later added: “We will try to get things to a more advanced state before we start to talk about the specifics, but we have already been approached by large international organisations that would like to do other sport-related events here.”
The comments came after reports that a Hong Kong investment firm, the Fosun Group, had been in talks with the Portsmouth City Council about investing in the British city after their hosting of an America's Cup World Series event.
Portsmouth.co.uk recently reported: “Bosses from the international conglomerate, spearheaded by billionaire founder Guo Guangchangin, came to Portsmouth during the World Series regatta at the weekend to talk more about their intentions.
“Chinese leaders say they are interested in the opportunity to bolster the seafront, showcased to millions around the world as they roared on sailing's elite competitors.
“And the Chinese Embassy has declared the attention placed on Portsmouth has inspired them to begin lobbying major private companies in Asia to part ways with their money and spark an economic boom in the city.”
Dr Gibbons said this week that the Bermuda Government was looking to ensure the event brought long term benefits to the island, studying areas that have successfully leveraged the event for lasting gains, such as Auckland.
“They were able to rejuvenate their waterfront and a lot of related things from sailing tech to small service businesses benefited,” he said. “We have been looking at the experiences and the lessons learnt from others as well.”
He noted that the event had already helped to inspire investment in the tourism sector, saying: “The hotel investment has been pretty successful when you look at the last couple of years compared to the period before that. Hosting an event of this nature can certainly be helpful in terms of rejuvenating a tourism product. The hotel properties, and those who are talking about investing in hotel properties, are going to be much more optimistic.”
He added that one particular area he was excited about was the possible surge in superyacht visits to the island. While he said the ACBDA had established a superyacht programme, offering the vessels a number of spectating positions around the course, he said: “That is already oversubscribed, and we're still nine months out.
“If we can get superyachts here and they can experience Bermuda and we do a good job in terms of providing them the amenities they need, which I'm sure we will, we would expect to get them back for repeat business.
“It's no secret that they spend a great deal of money while in port.”
In addition to the various marina projects around the island, he said that Government was working on a superyacht programme, rethinking how they are handled and the fees that apply for them.