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Government to help Bermudians into tourism

Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Jamahl Simmons speaks at a press conference today (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Government will conduct an assessment of the tourism industry to help unemployed Bermudians into jobs held by non-Bermudians, according to Jamahl Simmons.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism said that a “new approach” is needed to make sure that Bermudians come first.

He said: “The Government, working in tandem with the Department of Immigration, the Department of Workforce Development and stakeholders, will conduct an industry-wide skills and needs assessment of the tourism industry to identify areas where unemployed or underemployed Bermudians can be trained to fill or be promoted into jobs currently held by non-Bermudians.

“For Bermuda to realise its fullest potential we must have a well-trained, highly-qualified Bermudian work force where the only limit to growth and advancement is the ones that individuals put on themselves.

“To achieve this goal, we must ensure full alignment between the worker skill sets, industry demands, and the education and training being offered.”

Mr Simmons also said the ministry will work with the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development to revitalise the Bermuda Hospitality Institute, enabling it to better help Bermudians get into the industry.

“The training and designations that the BHI offers will be enhanced to certify Bermudians so they can become stakeholders in the tourism industry,” he said.

He also reiterated that the ACBDA will be changed into the Bermuda Event Authority, saying the body would adopt a “more diverse and inclusive” approach to finding events for the island that will benefit a wider segment of the community.

“Bermuda is more than golf, rugby and sailing, and there exists the capacity to grow events relating to sports, arts and culture that will attract younger, more cosmopolitan and more diverse visitors to our shores,” Mr Simmons said.

“Also we must end the periodic over reliance on the local market to bring energy and volume spending to support some events.

“Working alongside the Bermuda Tourism Authority, the BEA will increase engagement with institutions and industries and seek out strategic partnerships aligned with our objectives.”

Mr Simmons also said consultation about how to improve the island’s nightlife and entertainment options would be conducted to both attract young, cosmopolitan visitors.

“A better, fairer Bermuda is one that not only insures that there are more seats at the economic table, but is also one that invests in Bermudians and provides opportunities not just to be hired, trained and promoted, but to also own and run businesses of our own,” he added.

“In the months ahead, I will provide updates on these and other initiatives designed to do just that.”