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Let’s do what worked.

January 19, 2013

Dear Sir,

The 2013 Tourism ‘high season’ is rapidly approaching. I believe the first scheduled cruise ship is March 17, for the City of Hamilton. The number of cruise ship arrivals scheduled for this season is down compared to last year. Last year we had 163 visits. This year we anticipate 129. Albeit, Norwegian Cruise Line has a new ship —

Breakaway, that has a capacity of just over 4,000 passengers. In 2009, we had 138 visits, 2010 — 154, 2011 — 180 and 2012 — 163. The number of visits is not my primary concern, however, quantity equates to revenue, which is needed.

Being directly impacted, as an ambassador/taxi operator, the evidence of an uneven playing field, regarding the apparent monopoly trying to be created by on-Island tour operators and the shore excursion personal, needs addressing. I had previously submitted a letter of concern to the former Tourism Minister, highlighting these concerns. There was a reply to the effect that the Tourism Minister along with the Transportation Minister were scheduled to meet with the cruise lines prior to the start of the season, and that these concerns will be addressed. I had acknowledged Government is in a ‘catch 22’, meaning that they were basically in a bind that they could not afford to ‘ruffle-the-feathers’, as the ships are a pertinent source of revenue and to do so would threaten the tourism revenue, considering hotel beds are limited.

The situation is that the taxi operator is competing directly with Government buses. I trust the ‘new’ administration, with their planned Tourism Authority, will also address these concerns. It’s a given that the tourism industry has a more readily ‘trickle-down-affect’ for the working class, that does not just comprise of hotel bed-nights. Another thing I noticed when visiting the Bermuda Tourism website was the absence of the properties listed on the ‘Bermuda rentals’. These properties have to be certified by the ministry, if I’m not mistaken, yet not given due promotion or exposure, as they offer an alternative to the high priced hotels and cottage colony establishments. Are we serious about increasing the quantity of air arrivals?

In my contact and engagement with visitors, what I constantly hear is that they crave for cultural experiences, interaction with the ‘locals’. Where are the local haunts/bars, where can we find local cuisine, local entertainment and the like? Promoting the Bermuda rentals site offers exactly these opportunities. It’s no secret that Bermuda’s resource is her people. Let’s go back, to some degree, to what worked in days gone by. Bermudians being proud of their Island, willing to ‘give — a-smile’ to someone without one, extending invitations to visitors to their homes, establishing friendships, that subsequently, through ‘word-of-mouth’, was the best form of advertising!



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Published January 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm (Updated January 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm)

Let’s do what worked.

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