Tourism Authority Act 2013 Passes In The House

September 28, 2013

house of assembly bermuda generic parliament politicsAfter a marathon session that extended until approximately 5am this morning [Sept 28], Members of Parliament passed the Bill to allow the formation of the Tourism Authority.

Prior to its passage, MPs from both sides of the aisle spoke at length about the Bill in the House of Assembly covering aspects such as the closure of the BDOT, selecting the CEO, level of Independence of the Authority, financial aspects, tourism in general and more.

Last month Government confirmed that the Bermuda Department of Tourism [BDOT] will be dissolved, staff will have to reapply for positions, and the Tourism Authority will come into effect which will “operate as a private sector entity.”

Speaking in the House during the debate, Derrick Burgess [PLP] spoke about his concerns for the staff of the present BDOT, and said they “have privatized tourism.”

Rolfe Commissiong [PLP] said the Authority will “essentially be funded by the Government, but there is little in the way of accountability” which he said was “problematic.”

Susan Jackson [OBA] said the Authority can give our tourism product a “rebirth”, while Cole Simons [OBA] spoke about the importance of our overall product, and described an incident of receiving  ”abysmal” service at a major local hotel.

Bob Richards [OBA] said mixing politics with business is like “oil and water.” The Finance Minister said one of the objectives of the Authority is to “remove the oil from the water.”

Marc Bean [PLP] said if the Authority was being funded by the private sector he “wouldn’t even stand up.” The Opposition Leader said it is a “question of accountability” as it’s “taxpayer money in private hands…I do not care how you paint it, it is what it is.”

Shawn Crockwell [OBA], the Tourism Minister, said if we can get over 400,000 air visitors into Bermuda, the industry will do well. He said the island has an issue with capacity, and told the House one of the main objectives of the Government is new developments.

Speaking previously, Chair Designate of the Tourism Authority David Dodwell said: “This is a very significant step for Tourism in Bermuda. We are working towards our vision of being an independent, modern, and leading tourism enterprise – dynamic, entrepreneurial, and vibrant.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority Act, as tabled in the House, is [PDF] here.

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Comments (31)

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  1. Mike Hind says:

    I’m feeling cautious optimism. Let’s hope they get some good people – old and new – in place that will help us redevelop our product in a solid, sustainable way.
    Let’s hope that they don’t let politics – and egos – mess things up.

    • Now fast forward says:

      Well done Minister Crockwell and Chair Designate of Tourism Authority, David Dodwell.
      Finally the chance to take tourism out of politics and get on with catching up on the rest of the
      globe who have leapt ahead of Bermuda in the tourism industry.
      The National Tourism Plan provides a workable blueprint if implemented.
      However what remains truly imperative is the need for Bermudians to regain a sense of pride in their own country combined with a genuine desire to welcome visitors without charging prices that would scare most of the world away.

      • Black Soil says:

        Thank you OBA. Promise made. Promise kept. Now, I can assume that if tourism declines over the next couple of years, we can expect David Dodwell to be fired. Correct?

        • Mike Hind says:

          If it doesn’t get better over the next couple of years, there’s gonna be a LOT of people calling for his resignation, myself included.

        • frank says:

          first of all if the government is still footing the bill how can it be none political and david dodwell is the wrong guy a company that he is part of still owes govnment money what he gets to work off his bill also if we have a ceo what do we need the director for

    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      Talkin’ about egos…FT MUN1-2WBA…HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!United takin’ licks this season!!!!!!!!

    • I’m feeling somewhat the same as you Mike Hind…True, lets hope there isn’t a mix-up between the 2, (politics and egos)

    • Moonbeam says:

      Well said Mike — and I (for many I’m sure) agree !

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    Finally! The Competitiveness Commission, back in the early 90s then the Monitor Report, both costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands to produce, suggested then strongly advocated the formation of a Tourism Authority.

    Nothing happened. In over 20 years, nothing happened. Tourism went into freefall.

    Now we are looking at getting back to the future with something that resembles the very successful Trade Development Board of the 50s & 60s whereby promotion of the Island, with Government financial assistance, was run by people who were in the business.

    Without further delay, get on with it.

  3. Verbal Kint says:

    Too bad the formation of the authority has to include all of David Dodwell’s considerable baggage. This is potential boondoggle of epic proportions.

    • CommonSensenBda says:

      No wonder the Wayne Furbert appointed him….to put the blame on the UBP if he screws up!

  4. Nice one says:

    Now we can put our resources towards a ministry of international reinsurance business and unionize it!

  5. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Good!…people will have to really work for their wages now instead of texting all day and long lunch hours.

    • isn't ... says:

      Isn’t that what got people so upset about Mr Henagulph’s submission to SAGE? Or was it the senior guys who were busy looking the other way?

  6. terry says:

    Where do you live Nuffin.
    Paget Island?

  7. Glenn Chase says:

    Immediately what comes to ming is the potential conflict of interests. It is no secret that the minister is a ‘rookie’, hence, who is really calling the shots here. Is it the mentor, D. Dodwell? As a private businessman, he has proved to be relatively successful, with the Reefs. Yet of late, that record is questionable! Are we really to have an Independent Authority, funded by ‘the Peoples’ money, where private individuals have personal interests, would have the Island’s overall interest first? I would like to see promotion of the ‘bermudarentals.com’ site. This would obviously increase numbers – re: the average working-class considering Bermuda as a destination, where accommodation is more in-line with what is considered affordable!

  8. Rick Olson says:

    Now we at least have a chance to compete THANK YOU OBA now let’s finally get on with it next season is around the corner. If we desire visitors all year , increased tax revenue , free international exposure and JOBS ……..lets build a first class CASINO !!!

  9. Pat says:

    So what will the Tourism Minister be doing now that Tourism is privatised? Things that make you go hmmmmm.

    • frank says:

      taking more trips

    • Mike Hind says:

      Implementing.

      • Question says:

        Mike:

        A question for you:

        If you have the CEO of the Tourism Authority, why do we need a PS and Director and/or the Minister?

        You said implementing? The Minister is never apart of an implementation – that’s what the civil service does.

        So?

        Q

  10. Navin R. Johnson says:

    Without gaming there is not much hope to revive tourism…..the product would still be the same…gaming brings in foreign capital and puts people back to work…….skip the referendum and do it

  11. Babylon says:

    Good work OBA,now get the tourists here!