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Hotels support airport redevelopment plan

Bermuda Hotel Association CEO Stephen Todd (Photo by Jonathan Bell)

The Bermuda Hotel Association has thrown its support behind the controversial airport redevelopment project.

Stephen Todd, the CEO of the association, said in a statement that the group recognise the need for a “first class airport terminal”.

“Our island can no longer be satisfied with continuing to invest taxpayer funds in affecting ongoing repairs to an ageing airport facility which is sorely in need of replacement,” Mr Todd said.

“It is the major gateway to our island that forms the first impression of Bermuda for everyone who arrives by air and must pass through this deteriorating structure that is plagued with ongoing maintenance challenges.

“In the view of the association members as taxpayers, it is our opinion that collectively, as a country, we are simply wasting money on a facility that is no longer sustainable.”

Mr Todd stressed the importance on airline passengers to develop the island’s tourism industry, which he described as the backbone of the island’s economic stability, saying the association fully supports the airport redevelopment legislation.

He called on the wider community to also support the project, saying that it would not only help create construction jobs but create employment opportunities in all industry sectors by benefiting the economy.

“The BHA members stand ready to play our part in ensuring the future growth of the economy in the form of projected increased hotel occupancy, employment opportunities and overall enhanced year-round sustainability of our hotel/hospitality industry, as well as that of Bermuda, as we position ourselves to compete for the future business of the international traveller in an increasingly competitive world market,” he concluded.

The airport redevelopment plan has proven contentious with opponents claiming Government has shown a lack of transparency with the project and questioning if it will offer value for money.

Two crucial pieces of legislation for the proposal are set to be debated in the House of Assembly tomorrow. However, Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt has announced that the opposition intends to table a motion calling for the matter to be referred to the Public Accounts Committee — and request that the Auditor-General conduct an independent review.