Now is the time for great optimism in tourism
With the Premier’s recent announcement that the Fairmont Southampton deal is in the final stage of completion, Bermuda can breathe a massive sigh of relief. Bermuda tourism is coming back, and with it tremendous opportunities for Bermudians to take the reins once again in an industry that we not only practically invented but one in which we are truly the best in the world.
What does the signing mean for Mr and Mrs Bermuda? It means hundreds of job opportunities for Bermudian construction workers and job security for a project lasting several years. It means the restoration of hundreds of hotel beds to our tourism inventory, allowing more opportunities for visitors to come to our island and hundreds of Bermudian jobs in the tourism industry from entry to management levels.
It means not just the restoration of Bermuda's convention business that had been in free fall since the hotel closed, it also means opportunities for new business with the construction of a new, larger convention centre. It also means access to more flights and potential new routes owing to greater demand.
One of the largest construction projects in almost half a decade is set to break ground. It has been a long road, and it has not been an easy one. Our Premier and Minister of Tourism have been tough negotiators, ensuring that the Fairmont Southampton not only opens its doors but does not have a negative impact on the public purse.
Bermuda is an expensive place to do business, creating challenges in getting new investments and keeping existing properties prosperous. Concessions are necessary to get these deals done. This is unlike previous administration contracts that have held back Bermuda’s recovery and restricted your government’s capacity to expand necessary social programmes.
Like so many Bermudians, I genuinely look forward to seeing that iconic Bermudian property reopen its doors. I look forward to seeing Bermudians back to work and providing the excellent service for which we have earned global renown. I also look forward to seeing our tourists using our taxis to get there, our Twizzys to move around our island, and dining in our restaurants, providing income wider than just within the actual hotel itself.
Now is the time for great optimism in tourism, and I encourage every Bermudian to take advantage of the upcoming opportunities. Whether it is applying for jobs when the advertising starts or pushing forward with your entrepreneurial tourism vision.
Now is the time to get ready and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.
• Jason Wade is a government backbencher and the MP for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)