Shadow Tourism Minister Furbert said he is “very disappointed” that it has taken the OBA government so long to implement the Tourism Authority and also said that Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell “dropped the ball when it comes to the gaming referendum.”
The Shadow Minister was speaking after the release of the 2013 second quarter visitor statistics earlier today [Aug 19], which showed that total visitor arrivals were down 12%.
Mr Furbert said, “Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell and the One Bermuda Alliance came into office with so much hype, but by now the Minister realizes that there is no silver bullet to improve Tourism.
“When looking at the arrivals this year in comparison with last year, it is clear the factors that have played a role in the variances, such as the Newport to Bermuda race, and the decrease in service by Air Canada.
“There were some positive signs, such as the increase in bed nights; if the Minister stays on course with the National Tourism Plan put in place by the PLP Government and implements the entire plan, then we should see some significant increases in the future.
“I am very disappointed with the Minister that it has taken the OBA government so long to implement the Tourism Authority, even though its function is largely similar to the Tourism Board put in place last year by the PLP, but any improvements are welcome. The Minister should also disclose the report prepared by Ernst & Young regarding the Tourism Authority as the OBA government’s entire election campaign was one of transparency.
“Additionally, Minister Crockwell has dropped the ball when it comes to the gaming referendum, seemingly due to the in house fighting over whether a referendum should be held, or not. The PLP had a bill in place and by now would have held the referendum.
“I am also disappointed with the Tourism Board headed by Mr. David Dodwell. The Board has full responsibility for marketing and promoting tourism, not the Minister. Mr. Dodwell has yet to come before the people laying out the Board’s vision and the new steps they will take to improve our tourism product,” concluded Mr Furbert.