2011/12 Budget: Business & Tourism

February 18, 2011

[Updated with video] Minister of Business Development and Tourism Patrice Minors spoke at a post-budget press conference this afternoon [Feb 18] providing details of the financial provisions allocated to her Ministry in the 2011/12 Budget. The Minister said the Bermuda Music Fest will be eliminated as it “was not attracting enough tourists to our shores to justify the spend at this time.”

Minister Minor’s full remarks follow below:

The Ministry of Business Development & Tourism is designed to help strengthen the economy, enhance our competitiveness and look for new sources of business so that our economy remains healthy and vibrant. The Departments that are under this Ministry’s remit are: Tourism, Business Development & Regulation, Registrar of Companies, E-Commerce and Intellectual Property. The services provided by these which are key to sustaining and growing Bermuda’s economic well being for its citizens and residents alike. The total allocated funds for Current Account expenditure for the Ministry is $40.3 million dollars and small Capital Expenditure of $ 313,000.

The establishment of the brand new Ministry was the first step to solidify the commitment made to leverage the synergies between Tourism and International Business. And the Ministry’s budget reflects this systemic shift in a number of ways by:

  • creating efficiencies
  • take strategic actions to both maintain and sustain basic core requirements of the businesses – International Business and Tourism
  • leverage partnerships through collaboration and engagement of all the respective key e key stakeholders
  • ensuring value for money while optimizing the utilization and respecting both resources human and financial

The Department of Tourism is undergoing some new and refreshing changes in the way that it is doing business in order to tackle the extremely difficult challenges of fluctuating demand for the Bermuda product. We must promote and control the Tourism industry for the benefit of Bermuda utilizing the reduced funding in an efficient manner.

The $30.245 million dollars provided in this year’s budget for this purpose represents a $7.9 million cut from last year’s approved spending limit. And we intend to ensure that these dollars are spent wisely and prudently.

There have been significant cuts :

  • decrease in fees paid to Advertising Agency by utilizing Media Buyer vehicle representing a $1.6 million in savings in fees and commissions (these monies can be now used to place more media)
  • savings are being utilized to develop innovative ways to ensure that Bermuda’s awareness is maintained and converted into increased visitor arrivals throughout the year.
  • elimination of the Bermuda Music Fest which was not attracting enough tourists to our shores to justify the spend at this time using approximately $500,000 versus $1M to create opportunities and small events directly answering the demand for local entertainment throughout the year in our hotel establishments through a Hotel entertainment programme
  • Reduction of interactive marketing but buffered by reviewing and expanding the digital presence in the advertising

In keeping with resetting the dial, the new very dynamic Tourism Board has a mandate to develop a comprehensive and strategic National Plan for Tourism for the next 5 – 10 years. The vision, goals and actions for both the short and long terms must be set through engagement with all stakeholders with a sense of urgency, commitment and forward thinking competitive approach. The Board are already at work:-

  • a working group has been formed
  • facilitators identified
  • timetable set

I do not wish to pre-empt any further announcements that the Board is to make other than to say the plan will be delivered to public by no later than this summer . It has been emphasized by these industry and business leaders represented on the Board that this plan is not being prepared to sit on the shelves but to provide strategic focus and ACTION to ensure that the funds provided to the Department are used to the best effective manner possible.

While the planning is being done we must still keep working with our hotel partners to get heads in beds and promote Bermuda. To that end, I wish to share that the establishment and launch of The Tourism Fund, is a unique private/public partnership representing a collaborative effort of the Bermuda Alliance for Tourism.

This joint marketing effort, between the private sector and the Department of Tourism, will commence this summer with funds contributed by members of the Bermuda Hotel Association members and $750,000 contributed by the by the Department of Tourism. The Tourism Fund will be used to promote and secure tourism business overseas for the Bermuda Hotel Association members.

The Bermuda Hospitality Institute is to be provided with a reduced grant in the amount of $300,000 to continue its role in encouraging our young people to consider the hospitality industry as one with diverse job opportunities, with many programmes designed to engage their interest.

We recognize that we will need to ensure that the Department of Tourism and I as Minister advocate and support the Institute’s viability and will seek to facilitate sponsorships and private sector support to the programmes.

Bermuda Tourism will recalibrate and respond to the research results that indicate that while Brand recall and awareness strong we need to close the sale for our discerning demographic and capitalize on the positive :Easy to get there, Beautiful, everywhere, Friendly, British association and safe and easy. We intend to put Bermudians more in the Tourism picture:

  • Continuing the CBS Radio Ambassador programme – utilizing Bermudians in the tourism in the industry testimonials airing in core markets
  • Launch of Feel the Love Rewards programme incentive for advocates( both Bermudians and friends of Bermuda who refer business to Bermuda)
  • Launch of a Hotel Entertainment Programme
  • $7.5M Cost effective and focused media buy method over the next spend for the 9 months (with interim metrics review) prior to further spend of allotted funds for the remaining months.
  • 2 major events and targeted advertising to capitalize the new AirTran direct flights from Baltimore and Atlanta will be held
  • Funding for both a consumer event and sales show in Ontario to maintain the momentum gained from the WestJet flights.

A key objective is to concentrate advertising in the regions of highest potential to attract tourists to Bermuda thus the Department’s out of the total budget of $13 million advertising allocation will:

  • include a more targeted and less fragmented media mix to social media marketing as well as an increased digital presence along with normal media distribution channels
  • be concentrated in the markets that have the greatest potential to deliver land-based visitors based on direct air service and concentration on our target audience. i.e. Northeast USA and Canada.

This focus complements and is augmented by the success of new airlift out of Canada with the advent of Westjet and the news that a brand new airline, AirTran, will commence service out of Baltimore and Atlanta in April and May of this year.

Department of E-Commerce

The Mission of the Department of E-Commerce has developed the laudable objectives for the forthcoming fiscal year 2011/2012 and allocated a budget of $1.08 million dollars :

All output measures put forth in the 2010/2011 Budget have been achieved and the Department is to be commended as it moves forward this year to deliver with budgeted savings of approximately $183,000 key programmes and legislative initiatives such as :

  • Technology Leadership Forum (TLF) Internship Program
  • Privacy Legislation

The protection of personal information is a fundamental human right and an increasing number of jurisdictions, including Bermuda’s competitors are protecting such rights.

Office of the Registrar General – Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property Section of the Registry General Department has a number of initiatives and projects planned for the upcoming year. These initiatives and projects are achievable and will benefit not only the operations of the Department but Bermuda as well. The total allocated funds budgeted for this section is $709,000 and is consolidated into the Ministry HQ budget.

Trademark Legislative Review updating out-dated legislation

World Intellectual Property Day and Education Drive

* to raise awareness of patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life;
* to foster awareness of how protecting IP rights helps promote creativity and innovation;

Country Code Top Level Domain Names continuing to improve the service offered in respect of the Country Code Top Level Domain Name -.bm. A new system will result in a faster turnaround time, a more reliable service and result in Bermuda being on par with other systems internationally.

Business Development and Regulatory Unit

The Business Development and Regulatory Unit has been allocated $1,026,827 which is Four Hundred, Seventy-Seven Thousand, One Hundred Seventy Three dollars ($477,173) dollars or 32% less than the 2010/2011 allocation.

The Business Development and Regulatory Unit is key to the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism’s goal of facilitating balanced economic growth and development, the Business Development and Regulatory Unit (the “Unit”) is responsible for :

  • managing the growth and development of the financial services sector in Bermuda.
  • charged with preserving Bermuda’s reputation as a quality international business jurisdiction via the co-ordination, development, and implementation of the Government’s legislative and policy agenda with regard to international business.
  • engages in outreach work with international business and services providers in the furtherance of its growth and development objective.

The Business Development & Regulatory Unit through in its outreach role administers and provides Grants in the amount of $3.2 million dollars to stakeholders such as Bermuda Business and the IDC.

In the upcoming year in partnership with the asset management community, the Ministry of Business Development and Tourism has established an asset management working committee to expand our traction in this sector beyond our current market share.

Registrar of Companies

With a budget of $ 732,000, the Registrar of Companies is committed to the efficient delivery of its services via online electronic commerce. In the very near future, the Registrar of Companies will be implementing a new online IT system in order to better serve its customers. Highlights for the Registrar of Companies (ROC): are e-Registry system.and establishment of an In-house Comptroller.

These monies allocated to the Ministry of Business Development & Tourism are to managed prudently, deployed wisely for the greatest benefit of maintaining and growing our economy. As Minister I am committed to ensure that the people’s money is spent in accordance with that purpose.

Thank You.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    My my, lets go fishing where the dish are. Lets market heavily in the US Northeast. How original! Gee,that is what that useless UBP used to do in the days when Bermudaa actually had a growing tourism industry. We all know that the UBP never did anything right. Why would the PLP do the same thing?

    Because that is where the money is, thats why. If they can get here on one flight, or at most two flights same airline leaving home the same day, market those cities. I hope race based tourism ends too. Money comes in one colour. Green. Market to those who have lots of green.

  2. Joe says:

    But where’s the money for throwing out baseballs at opening games? Surely that thrill is not over as well. Is anything left from what the great EB once created? Is he really to be vilified? Will any one in the PLP even pretend that it is the one and same party as to what went before, or are we now in a Mexican reality of an ongoing and ever changing one party system?
    And in the face of all this we still have a fragmented and -oddly- unelectable opposition. I would say ‘cry the beloved country’ but its already been cried.

  3. enough says:

    Bottom line, I don’t care what she said or the fact that she bumbled over a great portion of that speech…she’s a hottie.

    As for tourism….market wherever you like, do as you will, so long as Bermuda is so expensive and the 1980′s kitch at the Princess hotels is costing $450/night, it’s only ever going downwards.

    Resorts at many islands and other places far cheaper to get to have the entertainment, the food and the weather.

    I’m sure many would love to come here for the quaintness, the easy flight and the beaches but the sun’s the sun and a beach is a beach when all said and done. Am I really gonna pay double to come here?

    Fix that and then we can talk.

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    I spent 18 years on the hospitality industry front line. One on one conversations with visitors every day. My service meant that I had them for a minimum of 3 hours. We talked about everything. Their likes/dislikes about Bermuda, local politics, our tax system, schools, grocery prices, everything.

    Our biggest asset is our location. Biggest grumble is price of airfare & price off rooms. Airfare many got around by flying on miles obtained from business travel. The hotel rates were something else. It is not like most of my clients could not afford the hotel rates it is just that too many are charging a 5 star rate for 3 star accomodation. Too often they felt that they were not getting value for money.

    They liked the natural beauty. Some of the repeat people complained about how Horsehoe Bay has been spoiled with all the development & cruise crowds. Too often I got grumbles about treatment at immigration & customs. I remember one saying that they got more respectful treatment entering the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

    Much has to change if tourism is to become even a shadow of itself begining with out attitude towards work & productivity.