Govt trying to reduce cost of building new hotels
Government is in talks with developers and unions to help bring down the cost of building new hotels, according to Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert.
He also revealed that talks are taking place about travel restrictions and plans are being made to put on a signature event from May to October.
Mr Furbert was speaking to the Sandys Rotary last night and told his audience: “Back in the day, Bermudians were most hospitable. Residents stopped to assist visitors with directions without hesitation; the entire community looked out for the red licence plate of a rental cycle and proceeded with caution when passing them on the road.
“Our children gave up their seats on the bus to a more senior person without being asked. Bermudians were genuinely friendly and welcoming to visitors.
“Today, we have to go into primary schools to teach our youth how to be hospitable. Even though many of us go out of our way to accommodate our visitors, we have to face the fact that there is a segment of our community that is less tolerant of our guests and treat them as if they are nuisances to the Island. We have to change this mindset in order to survive and sustain tourism.”
Hold told the meeting that:
* Government has started discussions to address visa issues and other policies that restrict travel to our island. Mr Furbert and the Ministry of National Security are in discussions to remove visa requirements for visitors who come from Brazil, Russia, India and China.
* Government is exploring avenues of working with industry partners to upgrade and maintain the visitor attractions.
* Government is exploring opportunities to promote cultural heritage and local entertainment. “In that light, we are working with entertainers to put on a signature event from May to October for locals and our guest alike. To make this work we need your support by encouraging your guests and friends to attend. If this fails, we all fail,” said Mr Furbert.
* Government is exploring new markets and demographics.
Mr Furbert added: “We are rethinking how we market Bermuda and the message that we want our prospective guests to receive and we will give the Tourism Board more authority to promote sales and marketing of our product.
“We are working with Developers to bring down the cost of constructing a hotel room. The present cost structure does not work for investors. A million dollars a room is not feasible. I would like to thank the BIU for meeting with me and agreeing with a formula to bring the cost down for a particular development. I along with the developer will share more about the agreement in the near future.
“We will shortly announce a New Advertising Agency that has been chosen and the Government has agreed to look at having a referendum on gaming.
“As you are aware we have chosen Travel and Leisure Europraxis out of Spain working with a Bermuda Company OBMI to produce a five to ten-year Tourism plan which will be produced by the end of May.
“However, we are not waiting until May. The Strategic Imperative Report produced by the Tourism Board recommended some immediate goals. We are spending millions over the next few months and aggressively promoting Bermuda.