New vacation rental fee ‘may, or may not’ affect visitor bed numbers – minister
New fees to register vacation rentals could lead to a loss of visitor beds, Vance Campbell, the tourism minister, said.
David Burt announced the fee in his Budget statement, saying: “Though the Government is not proposing a limit on vacation rentals at this time, there will be a fee introduced to register properties as vacation rentals.”
Asked at a post-Budget press conference yesterday if the introduction of fees would see a decrease in visitor beds, Mr Campbell said: “It may, or it may not.”
Pressed on whether it was a gamble to push ahead with fees if it was not known whether they would lead to a reduction in beds, the minister added: “No, I am not gambling.
“We have projects that are out there that will be bringing beds on line.
“Based on what you can charge for vacation rental, I don’t know the exact fees, but the fees are not meant to be prohibitive to discourage people from continuing.”
A Government minister has sidestepped questions regarding controversy over the selection of a new Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO.
Despite the BTA announcing in January that an appointment to the post was imminent, a global search to fill the role was launched in February.
The authority’s last CEO, Charles Jeffers II, left the post unexpectedly in June last year after just 12 months in the job. No reason for his departure has been given.
Tracy Berkeley, formerly the BTA’s chief administration officer, was installed as interim CEO and the publicly funded quango set about finding a replacement “from within the organisation”.
The authority has seen a revolving door of CEOs in since 2020 with four people in the role during that time, though two them were there in an acting capacity.
Asked why the global campaign was launched just weeks after the BTA said it was on the cusp of an appointment, Vance Campbell said: “I don’t think it’s appropriate while the recruitment process is ongoing that I comment any more on that process.”
When asked if the situation now looked a bit of a mess, the minister repeated the same answer.
During a press conference, Mr Campbell said that the selection process was on target to be concluded by the end of March.
The minister said: “We are reviewing the fees now and finalising that process so that it will be available to be in place on April 1.
“The fees are split according to ARVs and there are two bands in the planned process for ARVs that fall under the rent control. And there are five additional ARV bands for ARVs above $22,801.
“So, there may be some contraction in the use of those units for vacation rentals.
“But, we are confident that we have the Bermudiana Beach and other projects coming on line in the not too distant future.”
The move comes just weeks after Wayne Furbert, the Transport Minister, said a lack of tourist beds on the island was causing some airlines to cut their routes to Bermuda.
A medical tourism facility in Bermuda would be able to compete with low cost rivals, the Government has said.
Vance Campbell, the tourism minister, told a press conference: “The deliberations in this area are in a very preliminary stage … but, in many of these countries where the cost is low there are long waiting lists.
“So, there is a desire to get the procedure, whatever that might be, done.
“So, there is a market there outside of these low cost (countries) and Bermuda is looking to capitalise on that.
“We believe that now more than ever there is a market and that is the information that is coming to us.”
Asked what the costs of the medical tourism facility would be and how it would be funded, Mr Campbell said: “I don’t have the answers to those questions today, but I am prepared to obtain those answers and pass them on.”
• The minister’s full statement can be seen under related media.
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