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Minister reveals new look Bermuda Tourism Board

Members of the new Tourism Board, who were unveiled yesterday.

Tourism Minister Patrice Minors announced the new members of the Tourism Board yesterday.She said the appointments mirrored the new focus of the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism.“The Ministry has a broad mandate to advance economic growth, jobs and opportunities for the people of Bermuda,” she said. “It has cross-cutting responsibilities in the areas of financial services and other forms of trade tourism, technology and intellectual property.“Hence the services and products the Ministry provides touch the lives of all Bermudians.“And as I have continuously pointed out, there has long been a desire to better align these two sectors.“So our efforts of promotions, marketing and business development in the upcoming months will reflect the synergy of these two sectors.”She added: “These individuals understand Bermuda and what we have to offer.“They each have the passion, drive and experience to further shape our product and I am confident that their service to Bermuda tourism will lead to great things.”Heading the board is Malcolm Butterfield, who is the managing director for KPMG Financial Advisory Services Limited, Bermuda.The deputy chairman is general manager of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Jonathan Crellin.Also on the board is MP Randy Horton, global insurance chief Brian Duperreault, saxophonist Shine Hayward, entertainer Tony Brannon, taxi operator Quinton Bean, human resources expert Kelly Francis, Belco CEO Vincent Ingham and former parliamentarian Maxwell Burgess.Michelle Cox, Sallie Singleton, Isabelle Braxton and Anthony Santucci are returning to the board.Mrs Minors said she believed the new board members are “a testament of how serious I personally am about seeing Bermuda become the envied tourist destination of the world”.While Opposition parties have called for an independent tourism authority outside the remit of Government, Mrs Minors said she believed the collaborative approach was the best way forward.“I will be looking to the board to come up with strategies,” she said. “I believe the fist two months will be spent getting to know the Ministry and then we will be looking to come up with strategies to improve tourism.”One of the appointments, Mr Brannon, has been a long-time critic of the Ministry of Tourism and campaigned for more local entertainment.Yesterday he posted this on his Facebook account: “If the mission is to keep a critic close then I am even closer. But to all the sceptics, rest assured my beliefs will not be swayed, they will be heard.“What the powers that be do with them is up to them. To fail Bermuda now would be a travesty. So, my take on being asked on the Tourism Board is that somebody thinks that what I have been saying makes sense...Stay tuned!”When asked if the Ministry of Tourism would see a reduction in funding in the 201½012 Budget, due out in March, Mrs Minors would only say: “I have met the requirements of the Minister of Finance.”United Bermuda Party MP Cole Simons said his party was encouraged by the new board, adding that it consisted of “good, high-powered individuals”.“Their first task should be to focus totally on the creation of a national tourism plan,” he said. “Incredibly, the previous Minister [former Premier Ewart Brown] left Bermuda without one, despite being on the job for six years.“Bermuda needs to revive our tourism industry as a national priority. We can do it, but we have to be smart about how we go about it.”He added that he hoped the board would focus on Bermuda’s brand and prioritise marketing in Bermuda’s key gateway cities.Premier Paula Cox declined to comment on whether the Ministry of Tourism would have less funding in the 201½012 Budget.Mrs Minors has already dropped the Love Festival and is contemplating scaling down the controversial Bermuda Music Festival as a way of tightening the Ministry’s financial belt.Last year the Ministry received $38 million, a 19 percent increase from the 2009/2010 Budget. It was one of the only Ministries to see an increase.