Log In

Reset Password

BTA committee to chart a course for self-sufficiency

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
Kim Swan, the Junior Minister for Youth, Culture and Sport (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Bermuda Tourism Authority is forming a committee with the aim of achieving sustainability.

Kim Swan, the junior tourism minister, spoke of the plan during the estimate of revenues and expenditure for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport in the House of Assembly.

The BTA will receive a $16.5 million grant for the upcoming fiscal year, compared with the $19 million allocated last year.

Mr Swan said that Wayne Caines, the chairman of the BTA, is “establishing a committee to evaluate a path to sustainability and self-sufficiency for the organisation”.

He said that a “comprehensive analysis” is in the works.

Within the grant, $14.7 million has been allocated to marketing, which Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, said at a recent press conference should be the focus of the BTA along with sales.

Mr Swan added: “The BTA has planned an operating deficit in 2024, which will be financed from existing funds.”

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport was allocated $29.7 million, up $15.9 million or 116 per cent, on the 2023-24 budget. The increase is owing to the transfer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority grant, the Hotel Regulatory and Policy Unit and the Cultural and Entertainment Support Fund to the ministry.

The revenue estimate for the ministry is $641,000 inclusive of $438,000 from vacation rental fees and hotel licensing fees, and $203,000 from summer day camps.

Craig Cannonier (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Craig Cannonier, the shadow tourism minister, questioned if the funding, which he said is a “whopping” $6 million lower than it was in the 2020-21 budget, is adequate to the get the industry “back on its feet”.

Mr Swan replied: “Absolutely. Under the direction of the hard-working chief executive, Tracy Berkeley, the chairman of the board, Wayne Caines, and board members ... the BTA is sharpening their pencils and leading their mainly Bermudian team to deliver strong sales results for our island.”

Mr Cannonier asked whether there was a conflict of interest in Mr Swan being a tourism board member and junior tourism minister. Mr Swan responded: “No”.

The minister said that the Bermudiana Beach Resort will open this year, adding 110 rooms to the hotel inventory.

He said that the commencement of the Fairmont Southampton redevelopment is “imminent” and, once completed, will bring the total number of hotel beds in Bermuda to 2,500.

A total of $300,000 from the Department of Culture will go towards the establishment of the “makerspaces” initiative, which provides creative spaces facilitating artistic collaboration.

The capital budget of $850,000 also includes $500,000 for “the development and establishment of makerspaces” and $350,000 for capital works at the National Sports Centre.

The ministry headquarters was allocated $19,060,000, an increase in part brought about by the BTA grant transfer.

Salaries in the headquarters jumped 46 per cent to $1,215,000 owing to the transfer of four members of staff in the Hotel Regulatory and Policy Section, and salary uplift.

The Department of Culture received $2.2 million, up 18 per cent on last year.

“For 2024-25, the Department of Culture is focused on delivering opportunities that will enhance the creative output of Bermuda artists,” Mr Swan said.

Emancipation and cultural events received $45,000, which includes the production of a film about Court Street titled The Heart of the City, which will involve 14 participants of the Family Centre’s youth leadership academy.

There will be a series of audio recordings on Mary Prince, enlisting Bermudian actors and producers, while funding will also be dedicated to the 175th anniversary of Portuguese presence in Bermuda.

The Heritage Celebrations Unit received $273,000, up $4,000, to cover heritage celebrations and the Bermuda Day Parade.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Culture Equals Energy”.

Mr Swan said: “The department has launched a media campaign, 100 Days of Energy, which showcases behind-the-scenes footage of various groups and organisations as they prepare for the upcoming parade.”

A total of $50,000 has been set aside for Cup Match.

Funding for the Cultural Education Unit was given $37,000 for costs to co-ordinate the fourth annual Cultural Conference on May 24.

Under Community Services, there will be funding for the Gombey Festival. The allocation has been increased by $11,000 to $124,000 for growing event infrastructure costs.

The Department of Sport and Recreation received $8.3 million, down 22 per cent, owing to the transfer of the Youth Section to the Ministry of Youth, Social Development and Seniors.

Ben Smith, Ben Smith, the shadow sports minister (Photograph from parliament website).

Ben Smith, the shadow sports minister, said the $1,151,000 invested in sport was not enough.

“There is no way that number makes sense. If we understand how important sport is, that number has to be increased. It is the No 1 subject for me because I know the impact that sports can have on our young people.”

Department of Sport and Recreation grants totalled $3,854,000, including $350,000 for elite and high-performing athletes, given that 2024 is an Olympic year, and $1,350,000 for the National Sports Centre.

Sports Facilities Administration was allocated $1.6 million, up $259,841, which includes support for the National Sports Centre.

“The National Sports Centre stands as a cornerstone of our country’s sporting infrastructure, playing a pivotal role in fostering athletic development and promoting healthy lifestyles among our citizens,” Mr Swan said.

“The designated funding allocated to support the operation underscores the Government’s unwavering commitment to the advancement of sports and recreational activity.”

The National Sports Centre’s renewable energy project is near completion, he said.

He said that there had been delays in the activation of the micro-grid system at the stadium owing to sourcing challenges. “We can now confirm that these components have been sourced,” he said.

The tentative date for shipment is this month.

Mr Swan announced: “The one part of the power grid that operates the North Field, the pavilion and its storage building is now operational.”

A total of $500,000 is being spent to assist parents by addressing the wait list for summer day camps. The programme supports 1,700 children.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 05, 2024 at 7:55 am (Updated March 05, 2024 at 7:55 am)

BTA committee to chart a course for self-sufficiency

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon