Bermudians urged to enter tourism industry as MPs pass hotel incentives
MPs gave the go-ahead for Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa to receive a raft of concessions over the next ten years.
Cambridge Beaches Holdings Ltd will be exempt from paying customs duty on building materials, fixtures and fittings needed for the renovations.
The company, which purchased the property last year, will also be exempted from paying hotel occupancy tax, land tax and the employer’s share of payroll tax for ten years, which is the length permitted under the current law for refurbishments of existing hotels where the expenditures are worth more than half of the appraised value of the property.
Vance Campbell, the Minister of Tourism, said that under the Tourism Investment (Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa) Order 2022, which was presented to Parliament this month and approved on Friday evening, developers will be obliged to ensure that training is in place for Bermudians and that at least 70 per cent of the workforce is Bermudian.
“The field is set for Bermudians who choose a career in the tourism industry,” Mr Campbell said. “The opportunities are there to be taken.”
He added that the relief provided by the Act, in line with that which was approved to redevelop the Fairmont Southampton, is not just available to hotels.
“The schedule clearly sets out that new and existing restaurants can qualify for relief and likewise tourist attractions.
“The Government’s goal is to create the conditions that inspire investor confidence at every level of the tourism economy, sparking a desire to invest and reinvest as we continue to see the recovery of tourism in Bermuda. I am pleased to commend this order for the support of this honourable house.”
MPs on both sides of the aisle supported the legislation to boost tourism, which Mr Campbell said was “in the national economic interests of Bermuda”.
Craig Cannonier, the opposition MP, said: “Anything that is going to enhance our tourism product is vital.”
He questioned the criteria for concessions which were linked to an opening date, saying that Cambridge Beaches was already operating.
Mr Campbell said that an opening date in relation to a new development is the date the initial licence comes in to operation. He said Cambridge Beaches qualified as the expenditure for renovations exceeded 50 per cent of the hotel’s appraised value. The renovations also have to be completed within a three-year time frame.
Christopher Famous, the Progressive Labour Party MP, said there are some in the community who would argue that tourism in Bermuda is “dead”.
But he said minibus drivers, taxi drivers and restaurants were all reporting increases in business. “It is clear we are on the rebound,” he said.