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Good vibrations: Beach Boys’ $3m Horseshoe bid

A proposal has been submitted for a $3 million renovation at Horseshoe Bay that could create as many as 50 hospitality jobs for Bermudians in the run-up to the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup.

Beach Boys Ltd, which runs the “beach experience” out of Tobacco Bay, is up against 15 other contenders for the world-class location, including Fun Tyme, Ice Queen, Speciality Inn and Fantasea Bermuda.

Beach Boys hopes to expand upon the Tobacco Bay experience at the South Shore beach by ploughing $3 million into the existing facility and building “family friendly” programming, day and evening, and throughout the shoulder months.

As with Tobacco Bay, the submission includes food and beverages, non-motorised water sports, live local entertainment, transportation, tourism ambassadors, technology and the enhancement of the beach rental vacation market.

When approached by The Royal Gazette, Beach Boys creative director Belcario Thomas said: “From Tobacco Bay we have learnt that there is a high demand for responsibly enhanced beach activities from residents of Bermuda and even more so from visitors. Our revenues doubled this year.

“We [Beach Boys] are coming in to this with ten years of acute observation. We have first-hand experience visiting some of the top beach locations around the world, from Colombia, to Brazil, to South Beach, to Cannes. We are hoping we can bring some of that, tailored to Bermuda.

“We want to celebrate, authentically, Bermudian culture that the island can be proud of.”

Mr Thomas believes that if the bid is successful, the business could create 30 jobs during the first phase this summer and an extra 20 in 2017.

As with Tobacco Bay, the business would hire an all-Bermudian staff including Bermuda Tourism Authority-certified tourism ambassadors.

Tobacco Bay currently employs 30 full- and part-time Bermudian staff but Mr Thomas also highlighted the “economic multiplier effect”.

“That is just direct jobs. The fun part is the economic impact that comes out of it - for example, transport - there is now increased demand to multiple area attractions and businesses. Transportation was in demand so much after year one of our operations at Tobacco Bay that there was a hop-on-hop-off beach shuttle that our team created.

“Area businesses start getting a boost. A Bermudian company was created in a collaboration with the Beach Boys and Just Add Water, a vacations rental company.

“You can have local entertainment. Tobacco Bay gets up to 500 people a day so it can provide an enhanced busking experience and exposure for our artists.”

Mr Thomas came into hot water from environmentalists in 2010 when he proposed a beach bar on Warwick Long Bay - a pristine public beach.

The Development Applications Board listed several reasons for the rejection including the “potential detrimental impact on the natural and visual quality of the area”.

Mr Thomas highlighted that the company’s proposal only called for “minimal enhanced infrastructure” in order to provide year-round offerings both day and evening.

Mr Thomas added: “Beach Boys’ vision for Horseshoe Bay is highly supported at the top level.

“Horseshoe Bay is not a part of the Parks designated pristine network like Warwick Long Bay is and part of the designated active network, which promotes minimal commercial activity.

“We want this to be a bespoke, all-inclusive package promoted directly to our contacts in New York, Boston, Canada and Europe that also include the Unesco St George’s East End beach experience as well.”

Belcario Thomas, creative director for Beach Boys, has submitted a bid for the Horseshoe Bay concession. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)