UBP: “Use Tourism Board to Create Plan”

December 30, 2010

simons-cole[Written by Cole Simons, Shadow Minister for Tourism]

We are encouraged by the Tourism Minister’s announcement today of what constitutes, in effect, a new tourism board.

These are good, high-powered individuals and we expect high-powered results.

Their first task should be to focus totally on the creation of a national tourism plan. Incredibly, the previous minister left Bermuda without one, despite being on the job for six years.

Bermuda needs to revive our tourism industry as a national priority. We can do it, but we have to be smart about how we go about it.

The United Bermuda Party has long called for the creation of an independent Tourism Authority to bring to bear professional leadership and accountability to this very challenging task.

Until that is done, we need to use the existing system and, in this regard, the new Board can get things going.

It is our view that the Government has done a very poor job selling Bermuda. We believe the island’s unique attributes have been under-valued, our slogans weak and our marketing efforts too scattered.

A national tourism plan should help to bring long overdue discipline to the process of selling Bermuda overseas, such as targeting our marketing dollars and sales efforts on proven markets – fishing where the fish are – and projecting a more compelling sales pitch to potential visitors.

We believe in Bermuda. We can get Tourism back on track. But we have to get smart and get to work. We hope the Minister’s new Tourism Board can get be the catalyst for this.

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Comments (23)

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  1. mixitup says:

    I would have loved to see some younger “fresh” faces on this board, not the same ol same people.

  2. Under 50 says:

    Really not impressed with the fact that the tourism board has no young professional representation on it! Seasoned individuals need to be balance with fresh ideas, energy, spunk, vitality….sad to say this is a great opportunity missed. I hope that it is not reflective of the makeup of the rest of the boards across government!

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    No matter how bad Bermuda screws up,& it does on so many tourism issues, our greatest asset over all of our competition can never be taken from us. That is our LOCATION.

    We are less than 2 hours from every major East Coast city except Atlanta, & that is only a little longer. Fish where the fish are. Market the cities that have the direct flights or, at the very furthest, cities that have one connection, same airline, same day arrival in Bermuda. In my years on the front line I cannot begin to count the number of times a client has remarked on this convenience.

    End the marketing based on race. Like it or not, blacks only comprise something like 18% of the US population. Many years ago Jim Woolridge was absolutely correct. The MacDonalds crowd cannot afford Bermuda. Don’t spend money marketing to them. The wealthy do not watch VH1 & BET. Don’t waste money on such channels.

    Don’t market Bermuda as a five star destination when these days we can hardly claim to be a three star destination but we charge five star prices. The service has to match the price begining with a pleasant greeting from the airport immigration officer & ending with the taxi driver back to the airport plus everyone contacted in between. Today there are lots of other places that want these folks money & they deliver the service to get it.

  4. Call as it is says:

    The Tourist Board is a sick joke and has NO idea of how or where to promote Bermuda.

  5. Thay need to come to barbados and see what thay are dowing lots to do here thay do not close down for four days like bermuda thay do not want tourist there bermuda is on its last leg sorry but trew ps im in barbados now till may 5 2011???

    Bermuuda

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Umm…Charles, ???? could you repost that but do it in ENGLISH next time so that we can have a clue what you are talking about.

  6. John Simons says:

    What i see with this tourism board is old faces trying to bring old money to an old idea of what tourism once was in Bermuda.
    We need new faces, with fresh ideas, and new money that gels with the new tourism product that needs to happen going forward, because the end result that is inevitable is alot of hot air being spoken around a table and the usual blame game when it all fails becasue the powers that are in place still lack vision of what gets people here and keeps them here.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      So…John…any ideas??? All I see in your post is what a memorable teacher viewed a test of mine as……WAFFLE! I had no clue what I was writing about. Had not studied. Tried to baffle him with wordy BS. Waffle being something something looking big & fluffy but having very little substance.

      Polititians are pros at producing waffle. It works very well on feeding the uneducated electorate.

      Agreed the new board is a long way from what we should have, a non political Tourism Authority, but it is a whole lot better than the eunich political muppets that we have had for many years prior to now.

  7. Bermyman says:

    Those who have commented that we need fresh ideas are right. We have seen a period of government tourism spending focused on low cost cruise lines, which in reality do not fill restaurants and hotels. We need a tourism board with a clear plan, clear target market and clear objectives. What is Bermuda’s target market, at present it seems to be the, ‘Newly Wed and Nearly dead’. Where are the young east coast professionals working in the city, who want to get away from it all in convenience?? Where are the Middle class families looking to enjoy a convenient vacation? We have been so confused recently about what kind of destination we are but the focus needs to be on changing (modernizing) our product to catch up with the rest of the world’s tourism products. For example, why do we have our prime waterfront property in Hamilton as Car Parks??? We should be developing these as we speak! Why do we not have Casinos in Hotels like the rest of the developed world? And I am not talking about it’s detrimental affects on the community because gambling already exists in Bermuda and there is such a thing as membership and control with Casino’s. Why do we not have paint balling, go carting etc on offer?? We are so jaded and heavily reliant on International Business and the tourism we achieve through that. I truly think we need to shift our focus. I bet you that the majority of visitors to the Islands this Dec were relatives or friends of Expats, not vacation tourists. Let’s sort it out Bermuda Tourism, let’s get real about what we want for our Island’s Economy. Lets look at working to make Bermuda a more attractive destination, let’s look to train more Bermudians in hospitality and lets try an put some $$ in the Bermudian pocket rather than see the money waddle back on board the all inclusive cruise liners.

  8. Ricky says:

    Call me skeptical but didn’t we have a comprehensive strategic plan created by over 240 relevant, private and public sector professionals. Wasn’t this plan lauded by most, if not all top level tourism officials locally and in other tourism jurisdictions as an outstanding piece of work. Wasn’t this plan delivered under David Allen in his early years as the Tourism Minister, accepted and applauded by the opposition, several of which who happened to be hotel owners. Wasn’t this plan pushed to the side within weeks of delivery,with only small segments extracted and implemented. Didn’t this plan cost the Bermuda government approximately $700,000 in exspenes to the Monitor Group, those very bright folk with Harvard and M.I.T. degrees. So excuse me if I view this BS being discussed as just that, BS. The reason why the B.A.T. plan never saw the light of day is simple, it would ultimately take the real tourism discussion and tourism planning out of the hands of the government and allow a bi-partisan, private sector/ public sector alliance to champion the industry and we just can’t have that can we. At what point will we as a people awaken to the very simple fact that as long as this industry is controlled by the government of the day (PLP,UBP or this new group) we will continue to get what we have received for way to many years, a series of finger pointing as the numbers continue to drop. And no I don’t value the cruise ship business in the same degree as our last premiere / Minister of Tourism and for very good reasons, and if I need to explain why than it’s clear that you don’t a clue about this industry. So hear we go again, a new Minister who no disrespect, doesn’t have a clue about this industry; with a new Board that doesn’t have clue about this industry; managing a staff that no matter if the numbers are good or bad still maintain a job while those that bet with their own money take a beating leading us down the same old path. Enough already!

    • Cleancut says:

      Yes Rick you are right. same old, same old. I think the minister should send this new kettle of fish on a beginners crash course. Send them on a 2 week vacation to London.send them around June,July. make them observe the Tourists, mainly american tourists,make them study their behavior.make them ask how they are enjoying London. make them try and count how many american tourists they see. study their excitement. study their excitment. study their excitment. upon their return to Bermuda get them to repeat the same. the excitment they may not see. but its back to basics.

  9. Triangle Drifter says:

    Just think, next summer visitors waiting for the ferry or tender to take them back to their Dockyard ship will be able to sit at Albouys Point & view our very own little Alkatraz not a couple hundred yards away. Great job. We got rid of all those kids sailing. They were no fun to watch anyway. A juvenile penn right in the middle of Hamilton Harbour is much better to look at.

    With this kind of thinking in the PLP Government can there ever be a tourism turn around. Who would invest in Bermuda with this kind of idiotic thinking?

  10. Ricky says:

    Cleancut,
    A better learning experience and one more akin to what we espouse to offer would be St. Bart’s. I spent over 20 years in this industry in Hotels both locally and in the US and with top US travel mags., in the US and finally made it to St. Bart’s a few years ago only to be depressed. I had read and heard great things about this jewel in the Caribbean and guess what, ALL TRUE!!! But what was depressing is that we once where, could still be and are not St. Bart’s. The sad truth is that we continue to play at this and allow politics to stand in the way of sound business practice. What’s even more scary is that we have placed so many eggs in the International business basket that i now wonder if we can ever rebuild our tourism industry. Heaven help us!

    • Cleancut says:

      Happy New Year!Rick. i do know St.Bart’s. a beautiful island. for the rich and famous. yes its hard to compete with other destinations these days. here in bermuda its very nice and quiet.a beautiful island for the resident, but for us to compete on the global tourism market we need to create some major attractions. Sun, sea and sand are old hat now,no matter how exotic, people these days want to be excitedly entertained. with limited size and resources its very difficult.we used to have a very British theme here in bermuda back in the 80′s,but now you might as well be in Miami with crazy New Yorkers.

  11. Jasper says:

    Mark my words, we will be having this same discussion over the same poor results, 3 years from now.
    12 years and counting–$100,000,000 , yes 100 million dollars (spent on tourism) later under this government, we continue to act as though next year will bring something different. It’s so , so debilitating. Seriously, are we crazy people?????????????

  12. Jasper says:

    Sorry–I must have had to much of the bubbly–OVER 12 years AND $350,000,000 , Yes 350 MILLION dollars later!!! Call me crazy, but if this was run like a real business HEADS would roll!!!!
    AS a country we are a people that have become intellectually LAZY!! WAKE UP—DIG a little, heck i will accept a little scratching below the surface. Are we sheep? Seriously, are we sheep??????

  13. Jasper says:

    Happy New Year to you Clean-cut,
    Re St, Bart’s :
    1. Smaller than Bermuda in population and land mass
    2. Not nearly as pretty as Bermuda and the beaches, well, 2nd to Bda
    3. Infrastructure not even close to what we have in Bermuda
    4. BUT, here’s where they WIN:
    a. GREAT–did I say fantastic restaurants–outstanding cuisine and service
    b. Great shopping–all of the major labels
    c. Great nightlife
    d. Fine, fine hotels
    e. They are expensive and none of their clients complain because they are worth it!!!

    WE are sooooooooo British and staid and quite honestly, we are a boring destination! The sad truth is that the English jet set crowd love St. Bart’s and find Bermuda to be who we are, BORING!!! I know, shocking.

    • Cleancut says:

      The English jet set crowd go all over the world at reasonable costs. what does Bermuda have to offer to the british, not very much. we are over priced. create the 8th wonder of the world, and people will flock here.

  14. I have a dream says:

    Ok–it’s a nightmare and the scene is set in the year 2014 and we are reviewing the Tourism numbers and the debate is just plain ugly. And guess what, we already knew the outcome but we just had to spend over $120 Million along the way.
    a. Print this
    b. Put it in a safe place
    c. Retrieve it in December 2014
    And than WEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Eye in the sky ... says:

    What well travelled wealthy tourist would want to come to an overcrowded , overdeveloped and overpriced has been ?

    Ask any of our visitors who were ‘repeats’ over and over in the 60′s and 70′s..
    We’ve covered the rock with concrete and ashphalt .. way too much out of control noisy traffic. Litter everywhere …get your heads out of the sand , our beauty is a false illusion … yeah we’re colourful but that wears out very quickly once you get over the pastel houses and blue water.
    No shopping like the old days , no good old fashioned Bermudian service , no peacefull evenings relaxing on the terrace after dinner listening to a steel band because all you hear now is traffic and booming ‘boxes’.
    And our reputation as a dangerous place is spreading faster than lightning.

    We need to make IB comfortable BIG TIME , ’cause tourism isn’t going to recover back to the levels of the ‘hey day’ .. ever

    • One Love says:

      Which came first the chicken or the egg? We are overcrowded, overpriced and overbuilt largely as a of result IB. So yeah let’s continue to make them comfortable.I don’t think any informed person was/is opposed to this sector, but what is disconcerting are comments like yours that would have us believe that we will perish without it. Yes our way of life would change, but the fact that we have been living in this false economy for decades, one that has seen a disturbing growth of have’s and have nots, maybe changing our way of life isn’t a bad thing. Sadly we continue to measure our success based on the size of our real estate portfolio which is largely fueled by IB employees. Enough already!

  16. Red says:

    Touché!
    Any country so heavily dependent as we are on one industry is a country seeing Rome in the mirror.

    Greed and avarice so often a precursor for demise & ruin..

  17. Eye in the sky ... says:

    Undoubtedly the IB sector has brought it’s own ‘Pandora’s Box’ of problems to the island .. And once greedy landlords / land owners cottoned on to it (the easy money) it was pretty much over for us regular Bermudians.
    The problem is , IB isn’t as sensitive to problems like diminishing green spaces and overcrowding as many of their employes come from large cities overseas , or can return to their rural homes whenever they’ve had enough of this place.

    Tourists on the other hand are looking for a safe , clean , entertaining , hospitable place with an interesting foreign culture and shopping. Not to mention the great Bermudian cultural experience that we were once renowned for. Things that seem most unlikely to ever return.

    Now , if we could just keep the Bermudian greed in check we might get by as individuals.