Another America’s Cup won’t reboot tourism, Premier says
An Opposition call for Bermuda to bid for the 2024 America’s Cup was today dismissed by the Premier as a “rinse and repeat” tourism strategy.
David Burt told the House of Assembly that “sailing alone is not the path to tourism renewal”.
Mr Burt poured cold water on the idea and highlighted the urgent need to rejuvenate the tourism sector after “the solitude and isolation bred by the pandemic”.
He was speaking after an opinion article this week by Ben Smith, a One Bermuda Alliance senator, criticised the Progressive Labour Party for its opposition to the 2017 America’s Cup, which was held on the island under an OBA administration.
Mr Smith wrote that with “media reports that the 37th America’s Cup needs a home”, the OBA would support the Government in bringing the regatta back.
The PLP, the Opposition at the time, was sceptical of the benefits reaped by the America’s Cup event and the two parties sparred often over the price tag for the races.
But an analysis of the event by the professional services firm PwC in 2017 found that the event delivered a 535 per cent return in projected revenues.
Mr Burt told MPs today that sailing was “part of what we can do well”.
But he said sailing events would not help demolish the island’s “historic and staid reputation that is preventing us from matching our competitors’ success”.
Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 and mounted a successful defence on home territory last year.