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Concessions approved for Hamilton Princess

The Hamilton Princess & Beach Club (File photograph)

The House of Assembly has approved tax breaks for the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club as the renovations at the property continue.

Kim Swan, the Junior Minister for Tourism, said the Tourism Investment (Hamilton Princess & Beach Club) Order 2024 would cover the fourth phase of the hotel’s redevelopment project, which involves a $21.2 million investment in the Pembroke resort.

Mr Swan said the Green family, who purchased the hotel in 2012, have developed a long-term investment plan for the property.

The fourth phase of the work involved renovations to the Harbour View Hall Room, the Princess Rooms and the Regency Terrace, which has already been completed.

Further works will include a redevelopment of the hotel’s Bermudiana wing, expected to begin in November and be completed by the second quarter of 2025.

With the fourth phase taken into account, Mr Swan said the ownership have invested more than $160 million into renovations at the hotel.

Concessions offered in the order include full relief from customs duty for ten years from the operative date of the order, full relief from hotel occupancy tax for 12 years from the hotel’s opening date, full relief from the employer’s share of payroll tax for 15 years from the hotel’s opening date and full exemption from land tax for five years starting from the sixth anniversary from the hotel’s opening date.

The exemption from land tax is subject to the hotel confirming in years six through 11 that 70 per cent of the hotel’s staff is Bermudian.

The exemption from the employer’s share of payroll tax is subject to a management training programme for Bermudians, verified by the Department of Workforce Development.

Craig Cannonier, the Shadow Minister of Tourism, praised the Green family for their commitment to Bermuda and the island’s tourism industry.

“We have been through several of these concessions for many hotels,” he added. “The premise really came about for the Fairmont Southampton hotel.

“We are still waiting to see these, but we have these concessions that other hotels are taking advantage of.”

Mr Cannonier, however, raised concern about the reality of 70 per cent Bermuda staff, stating that the wider industry will struggle to hire and train up enough Bermudians to reach the threshold.

“They will not be able to fulfil this,” he said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

“Where are all these people coming from? We are looking for 400 or 500 people just for Southampton.”

Mr Swan, however, said that the order was for the Hamilton Princess, and the hotel has already achieved 70 per cent Bermudian staff.

He said the hospitality industry and related businesses hire more Bermudians than many other sectors.

“This Bill presented by the minister provides hope,” he said. “Hope for people to see that there are hotels in this country that have enough faith to invest.”

Wayne Caines, a Progressive Labour Party backbencher, said that there was a need to get more young Bermudians trained for the tourism industry, noting that the Bermuda Tourism Authority and hotels have programmes in place to do so.

The Government has recently passed similar Tourism Investment Orders for Ariel Sands, the Bermudiana Beach Resort and Azura Bermuda.

Other resorts expected to undergo improvements soon include the Fairmont Southampton, which is expected to reopen by the end of next year, and the Grotto Bay Resort, which recently sought planning approval to build more than 50 new guest rooms.

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Published May 19, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 19, 2024 at 4:55 pm)

Concessions approved for Hamilton Princess

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