Cambridge Beaches sale could start tourism bounce-back
Hospitality leaders yesterday predicted the tourism industry would bounce back this season – despite the damage done by the Covid-19 pandemic.
And they claimed that the long-term future of the industry also looked strong – in part because of the country’s success in the battle against the coronavirus.
The industry figures were speaking after it was revealed earlier this week that a US hotel firm was in negotiations to buy the prestigious Cambridge Beaches resort in Sandys.
David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Tourism, said the takeover plan was “incredibly positive news”.
Stephen Todd, the CEO of the Bermuda Hotel Association, said that Bermuda was viewed “as one of the safest destinations in the world” because of its low rates of Covid-19.
Mr Todd highlighted that many of the island’s Caribbean competitors had been given a Level 4 status by the US Centres for Disease Control, compared to Bermuda’s Level 2.
He said: “The Bermuda Government has done – and continues to do – a commendable job in ensuring that our residents and visitors remain safe, and that the appropriate safety and health protocols are in place.
“That has thus far enabled our destination to emerge progressively, as key sectors of our economy have reopened, which is a very positive trend.
“This has also enabled those displaced at the onset of the pandemic to once again obtain employment to assist them with meeting their obligations.”
Mr Todd added: “The distribution of vaccinations by the governments of our major source travel markets – the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom – mean that, that once they have achieved herd immunity and their borders are reopened for their residents to travel, the resultant pent-up demand to travel should bode well for our destination.
“We are anticipating a positive trend emerging in the coming months, which again is very much dependent on the vaccination roll-out and success of our primary trading partner countries.”
Mr Todd agreed said the potential buy-out of Cambridge Beaches by New York developer Dovetail was “a very positive sign”.
He added: “It clearly demonstrates that Bermuda is seen by prospective developers, as a sought after destination for partnering with us in expanding our overall hotel offerings.”
Glenn Jones, the interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, backed Mr Burt and Mr Todd.
He said: “Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with principals of three properties across the island – Cambridge Beaches, the Bermudiana Resort and St. Regis in St. George’s.
“In all three cases the main decision makers are encouraged, specifically about the potential success of their properties over the long term and the future of tourism in Bermuda generally.
“Although that might be difficult to imagine for most people given the past year, big infrastructure projects like hotel developments are really about the road ahead.
“And while the road ahead – particularly the road to recovery – is a difficult one, it’s more promising than most destinations in Bermuda’s comparative set.”
Mr Jones added: “There’s a rare opportunity to capitalise on this advantage, and hotel investors sense the opportunity.
“Their collective investment in our tourism product sends a strong signal to travellers and the travel industry about the island’s future.”
Mr Burt said: “Tourism in Bermuda can be rebuilt, and the Government is focused on creating the conditions for investor confidence and preparing our workforce to actively participate in the tourism recovery.
“The interest and advanced discussions around a beautiful, signature property like Cambridge Beaches is a welcomed development, and we continue to work hard at turning the page on a period of decline exacerbated by the pandemic.”