PLP: Tourism Authority Progress Is ‘Concerning’

December 10, 2013

bdot logo tourism[Updated with Minister's & Mr Dodwell's response] The “OBA’s slow progress in putting together a functioning, fully operational Tourism Authority is very concerning,” Shadow Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said today [Dec 10].

The implementation of a Tourism Authority was a campaign promise made by the OBA during the 2012 General Election, and veteran hotelier and former UBP Tourism Minister David Dodwell was named as the Chairman.

In January 2013 — when Mr Dodwell was announced as Chairman Designate — Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell said they “set an aggressive timeline of six months to have the new Authority up and running.”

In September 2013 the Bill [PDF] to allow the formation of the Tourism Authority passed in the House of Assembly, and on October 7th, Senators also passed the legislation.

In a statement this morning, Mr Furbert said, “They have missed all of their promised deadlines and the news that the CEO won’t be in place until April 2014 means that we’ll have lost yet another season.

“We recognize finding the best person for the job takes time, but between the delays and bungling of the gaming referendum and the delays in setting up the TA Bermuda and Bermudians are falling further and further behind

“At present, David Dodwell is the de-facto Tourism Minister setting the agenda with apparently no oversight and no accountability and we have heard nothing new or innovative from him since taking the reins.

“Instead, all we’ve heard is a rehash of the same failed ideas we heard from him almost 20 years ago,” said Mr Furbert.

Update 4.16pm: In response, Minister of Tourism Shawn Crockwell said: “Yet again Shadow Minister Furbert has spoken without knowing the facts.

“Had he asked me directly, rather than issue an erroneous and misleading statement to the media, I could have informed him that the process to identify a dynamic Board of Directors has been completed and an announcement on the new members will take place next week.

“In addition, the plan has always been to have the Tourism Authority CEO in place by January, 2014 and we are on target with this deadline,” concluded Minister Crockwell.

The full statement from Mr Furbert is below:

The OBA’s slow progress in putting together a functioning, fully operational Tourism Authority is very concerning.

They have missed all of their promised deadlines and the news that the CEO won’t be in place until April 2014 means that we’ll have lost yet another season.

The Minister has yet to even appoint a Board who can help plan and give direction on Tourism going forward.

We recognize finding the best person for the job takes time, but between the delays and bungling of the gaming referendum and the delays in setting up the TA Bermuda and Bermudians are falling further and further behind.

At present, David Dodwell is the de-facto Tourism Minister setting the agenda with apparently no oversight and no accountability and we have heard nothing new or innovative from him since taking the reins.

Instead, all we’ve heard is a rehash of the same failed ideas we heard from him almost 20 years ago.

If after a year the only new idea produced is floating the notion that tourists should be allowed to drive cars, than we are far from where we need to be in fixing our tourism product.

We’ve wasted a year already on gaming and lost a year as the OBA fumbled around trying to put the TA together and we still don’t have a board or key players in place. We have yet to see the promised speed and efficiency of “the professionals” and Bermudians need to see action.

We urge the Minister to appoint a Board for the Tourism Authority by the end of the month.This will enable a “many hands make light work” approach and perhaps spark new ideas and spur on that speed and efficiency that the OBA promised.

Chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority David Dodwell also responded.

Mr Dodwell’s full statement is below:

The PLP spokesman has made inaccurate assumptions and then crafted a whole story around the inaccuracies.

I repeat my offer to Mr. Furbert that if and when he would like to ask any questions we are open and willing to assist. The information released by Bermuda Tourism Authority contradicts much of what Mr. Furbert says.

Our biggest concern here is that some members of the public may become confused by comments/allegations being made by the spokesperson. So, allow please to provide some facts:

1. We have never said that the CEO will not be in position until April. Interviews are well underway, a short list has been produced and we would hope to have a selection made no later than the beginning of January. This is right in line with our schedule.

2. There has been no delay in setting up the Bermuda Tourism Authority. We are working to a schedule which we have already announced. We have given an exclusive period to BDOT staff for applying for jobs, interviewing has being going on and we are now advertising for staff publicly. As previously announced, the transition is occurring and will be complete no later than March 31st.

3. The Minister has been working very hard with us to identify a Board for the BTA and we believe it will be announced in the very near future.

4. I am not the Minister of Tourism, the role of the BTA is very clear. We are very focused on bringing the BTA into existence; we are creating, in effect, a $30 million company and that takes time, care and focus. We have some big challenges this has not been working for many years and this new organization, the BTA is going to get it right.

5. In terms of ideas, the direction forward is clearly laid out in the National Tourism Plan, why Mr Furbert would think these are failed ideas, I do not know, they most certainly are not and the BTA is determined to make this plan a reality.

6. We would point out that the BTA legislation was only passed by the senate in October. Since then a great deal of work has been accomplished, as we have reported and that continues, day by day.”

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Comments (26)

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  1. O'Brien says:

    I’m growing very tired of the PLP blaming the OBA for not accomplishing in a year what they failed to do in 14.

    • Unbelievebale says:

      Exactly. The OBA may be late with timelines but there’s no way you can fix 14 years of mess in one year. I’ll give them some credit and even say 7 years of messing up.

      What makes ANYONE even think that the PLP can change itself and be a great party in one year as Opposition as well? What makes them think that all of a sudden in one year they have all the answers when they have some of the same people still in their ranks that got us in this mess in the first place? Get real.

    • agreed but.... says:

      Although I do agree with your statement I believe that Mr. Furbert has a point with regards to Bermuda missing another season if we are to wait for the CEO take his reign in April.

      • Unbelievebale says:

        The OBA is taking a lot of heat and possibly justifiably so. They’ve broken a few promises, given out some wrong facts and had some pretty terrible PR (actually..no PR) in only a year. But it’s so easy being in the Opposition. You just sit back and fire shots.

        Only thing is the Opposition made the mess that the OBA is trying to cleanup. I, for one, am tired of hearing from the OBA that the PLP put us in this mess but how can you reconcile it? 14 years of bungling won’t be cleaned up in one year. But the OBA now have ownership of this mess. But then again, the PLP do go on and on about the UBP and a lot of dead people. How can you have grudges with dead people?
        I gave the PLP until about 2006 to keep the country on the right track and then I started to see the red flags.

        Politics is a messy affair.

      • Naive Observer says:

        I would think that the current Tourism plan will remain in effect until it is changed, so it should not be a lost season. Maybe one that won’t be as good as it could have been, but it’s not like no tourism promotion will get done at all.

        Even after the new CEO comes on board it may take a while for them to decide on what changes will be made to branding, promotions, etc. For next season as lot of that would need to already have been done in order to be in effect for next season.

        Just like the OBA could not do much with their first budget which was largely PLP legacy, but the 2nd budget really sets their new direction, so it will be with the TA’s new CEO. Don’t expect huge changes of direction for a few months, and likely the 2015 season. Maybe they might come up with something for the 2014 offseason.

    • JustAskin2 says:

      Are you tired of the OBA blaming the PLP for just about everything else?

      • Raaz says:

        It’s not really blaming so much as giving the public the facts they deserve to know, which many clearly don’t. Just because nobody talks about it doesn’t mean the truth disappears btw.

  2. joseph says:

    Haste makes waste! The Tourism Authority cannot be rushed. Its always through rushing that the PLP finds themselves in a mess. Our tourism would still be the same if Wayne Furbert was still tourism minister. (Going nowhere).

  3. Vote for Me says:

    The Tourism Authority experience seems very different from the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications.

    The CEO is a critical role! It is surprising that so much is taking place without a CEO. Supposed the seasoned professional has a different view on how to execute the Tourism plan?? For the naysayers, the Authority sets policy, the CEO should decide (or at leas play a major part in) execution.

    Are we looking at a situation where the job is tailor made for a non Bermudian?

  4. somuchless says:

    I don’t agree on the pee l pee nor the Oba but damn furball shut your trap.

    Compare 1 year to 14 and tell me the diff.

  5. CubanRum says:

    Wayne the FLIP FLOP. Give it up. You failed and your latest party failed. You couldn’t see the forest for the trees with glasses on. You do like to her yourself speak don’t you. Ever get tired of flapping your gums whilst no one listens

  6. Victor says:

    I’ve worked it out – Bean and Co have a set schedule of Shadow Ministers/MPs to get up and whine, two to three whines a week on a rotating basis. It is the individuals job to invent whatever his whine is to fill his quota. Thus we get Rabain on Gaming yesterday, Furbert on the Tourism Authority today, I’m guessing Michael Scott next week on the mistreatment of young males, etc.

    • Chalky White says:

      don’t forget Zane the expert on Health followed by Roban on something or other than Mr Bean to wax eloquent and get all Statesman like…a parade of rotating fools…oh I forgot Burt the finance whiz

      • Rick Rock says:

        I think they wheel out Burt as the one with ‘online internet sales’ experience.

  7. u ank sers says:

    ya because you did soooooooooooooooooo much better wayne lmfao

  8. swing voter says:

    With all do respect Wayne, shuddup and sit down!

  9. somuchless says:

    Furball is mad cause he can’t fly out to Mandela’s furneral on the public purse

  10. Voter says:

    Well if the legislation was only passed in October by the Senate, that gives until April 2014.

  11. a young female says:

    stop blaming the PLP

    • Mike Hind says:

      Who SHOULD we blame?

      • Warwick Voter says:

        Dr. Ewart Brown and Paula Cox is a great starting point

    • Electorate Member says:

      I agree with this person, we should stop blaming PLP, instead blame the individuals who masterminded and aided this situation, Dr. Ewart Brown and Paula Cox. There were a few (VERY few) who stood up against those two, but for the majority, they played the part of the loyal .. claiming they were just following the party leaders orders.

  12. Well tell the PLP stop blaming the UBP! And they are dead! LOL!

  13. Nuffin but da Truth says:

    Flip Flop everytime you open your mouth you put your big foot in it!

  14. John E. Thorne says:

    Wayne isn’t it about time that you leave your party to join another?

  15. Triangle Drifter says:

    “Vote for us & we will turn tourism around in 100 days”. Remember that one? The easily fooled believed it & tourism went from decline to freefall all the way to the “Platinum Period”.

    We know that much is expected & demanded of the OBA, especially by PLP supporters. They did not expect much from the PLP. A good thing because they sure did not get much from the PLP. The Platinum Period was more like the implosion period.

    Now these same easily fooled expect the OBA to snap their fingers & fix the destruction of 14 years. It ain’t gonna happen. A turnaround in tourism, if it is possible, will take time & a whole new attitude towards giving service & value for money.