Log In

Reset Password

Minister: Cruise player ready to invest $250m in Bermuda

A “cruise industry stakeholder” has proposed investing $250 million for an infrastructure project in Bermuda, the transport minister has revealed.

Lawrence Scott, who touched on the investment bid during the Fairmont Southampton debate two weeks ago in the House of Assembly, warned that the idea was still under review.

But Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette yesterday that the interested party was ready to invest “today” if the deal went ahead.

He added: “It depends on how long it takes to be vetted and whether it is approved.”

He said the unnamed cruise entity had also pitched a memorandum of understanding to the Government offering “to create a direct and clear path to jobs in their company to Bermudians aged 18 and up”.

During the debate on the Fairmont Southampton, Mr Scott hinted “there could be shovels in the ground as early as next year" if the idea gets the green light from Cabinet.

Yesterday, the minister said the East End would reap benefits if the investment was approved.

“From what I have seen, it does not encompass one part of the island. It will transition to all of the island – and St George’s would feel the love.”

The Old Town has lost out on cruise tourism for the past 25 years because of its limited capacity to host large vessels, coinciding with an industry trend for increasingly large ships.

Previous proposals to widen the Town Cut access to St George’s Harbour have come with significant environmental concerns.

The minister said the $250 million proposal would be vetted by technical officers and the Economic Development Committee before going in front of the Cabinet.

If it goes ahead, Mr Scott said it would mark the first major cruise infrastructure project since Heritage Wharf opened at the Royal Naval Dockyard in 2009.

The project was discussed at the annual Seatrade global cruise conference held last month in Miami, which was also attended by the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Mr Scott said representatives from the port authorities of both Baltimore and Boston were willing to add their “negotiating strength and influence with airlines” to the table in increasing Bermuda’s cruise capacity.

“Boston and Baltimore are home ports,” he said. “The more cruise calls they have, the more attractive they are to airlines and the more seat capacity they build.”

He said both US ports stood to boost their numbers if the Bermuda cruise investment came to fruition.

Mr Scott said cruise representatives in Miami had also forecast a better season this year than officials in Bermuda were expecting.

“We were informed by the cruise industry that our projected 50 per cent occupancy for this current season is below what they’re projecting, which is closer to 80 per cent.”

If the more optimistic numbers prove correct, he said the Government’s Consolidated Fund could garner $20 to $30 million extra in taxes.

Mr Scott said cruise demand this year appeared to have come back “faster than anticipated”.

He said current passenger numbers were being boosted by trade lost to the pandemic in 2020, which had left travellers with money in their pockets.

The transport ministry is projecting more than 1 million visitors to Bermuda for 2025-26.

Mr Scott said that forecast for three years ahead had “factored this proposal in”.

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

Published May 20, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated May 20, 2022 at 8:14 am)

Minister: Cruise player ready to invest $250m in Bermuda

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