BTA & Minister On Conference, New Legislation

April 21, 2017

“New legislation to spur hotel investment is expected to move through Parliament in the coming months, which could help to grow Bermuda’s hotel capacity by 1,500 rooms in about ten years,” the Bermuda Tourism Authority said, adding that if “passed this year, the Tourism Incentives Act will play a key role during the upcoming Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit [CHICOS], taking place in Bermuda November 9th and 10th, 2017.”

“CHICOS attracts government representatives, developers, bankers, investors, top executives from hotel corporations, consultants, architects, designers and other private institutions interested in discussing the potential and possibilities available in hotel investment. About 300 attendees are expected for the event at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club,” the BTA said.

“Bermuda will benefit from being host nation for CHICOS as various hotel industry leaders and investors will attend the conference,” said Parris Jordan, Chairman of the CHICOS Conference. “Additionally, CHICOS will work with the government to showcase Bermuda’s development sites for hotel projects.”

“We took to the Legislature in March a proposed draft Bill for consultative purposes and intend to have a final bill ready in May,” said Tourism, Transport and Municipalities Minister Michael Fahy.

“The objective is to stimulate more tourism development opportunities by direct foreign and local investment in Bermuda’s economy and to capitalize on the excellent work the Bermuda Tourism Authority is doing to increase air leisure arrivals and create new products and experiences. The draft Bill would encompass the full spectrum of Bermuda’s tourism product, not just hotel development.”

BTA press conference highlights video

“Between now and the end of 2020, the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] projects the number of hotel rooms to increase from 2,412 to 2,802, a 16 percent increase. By 2025, the number of hotel rooms across the island could swell to almost 3,900 if all projects in the pre-planning phase are moved to completion,” the BTA said.

BTA Chief Executive Kevin Dallas said, “The Bermuda Tourism Authority believes the incentives legislation will be a vital tool to help usher hotel investors through the development process. We are anxiously awaiting the passing of this legislation because ultimately it will lead to the creation of more jobs for Bermudians and the landscape Bermuda will need for further growth beyond 2020”.

The BTA noted that in addition to incentivising hotel investment and spurring investment in tourism businesses outside of the hotel sector, the new law is designed to also spur investment in existing properties.

“We believe the Tourism Incentives Act is a key component for the future success of Bermuda – both for our existing operators as well as perspective investors,” said Bermuda Hotel Association CEO Stephen Todd.

These comments were made during a press conference to preview the CHICOS event in November.

The BYA said, “An advance team is touring sites in Bermuda considered prime for tourism investment or where hotel development is already underway. Officials have described Bermuda as a place well positioned for new investment because:

  • major development projects over the past few years have been rare;
  • Bermuda’s hotels are experiencing strong revenue per available room [RevPar] and average daily rate [ADR] performance;
  • hotel brands doing business in Bermuda and those recently attracted to the island are highly regarded across the industry

Speaking at the press conference, Minister Fahy said, As Minister of Tourism for the host destination for November’s Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit [CHICOS], I want to welcome you, as members of the advance party.

“I’m sure you will find everything you need to make your event, the most successful one, yet. Hotel investment is very much on the mind of the members of my Government. We see it as a strategic, and very necessary, way forward for our community.

Andy Burrows [BTA Chief Investments Officer], Parris Jordan [CHICOS Chairman], Minister Michael Fahy, Kevin Dallas [BTA CEO] and Stephen Todd [BHA CEO]

Minister Michael Fahy Bermuda April 20 2017

“After a slow-down in tourism investment, Bermuda is at the beginning of a new era for hospitality investment and development. Reduced new hotel and tourism infrastructure expansion, along with a fall in visitor numbers, has been problematic for the industry for some time.

“While our tourism numbers, by Caribbean standards, are small, Bermuda does still require several hundred thousand visitors by air, in addition to cruise ship visitors, to make a successful year.

“Given the reduced investment, it was imperative that we determined why Bermuda wasn’t getting its fair share of hotel development; what are other jurisdictions were doing to attract it; and, how Bermuda could develop effective strategies.

“I am happy to report that we are on the rebound.

“We have been witnessing rapid advances in tourism visitors, receipts and increasing interest in tourism investment. In the East End, a new property has just opened and another is on its way. A major resort is also being developed in the West End, and we have seen a major re-fit right here at the Hamilton Princess.

“With regard to further new investment, we are re-structuring opportunities for investors to help them more quickly establish themselves. After years of cumbersome investment incentives – a programme which never fully manifested its potential – we will provide a simpler administration of incentive and investment relief. And it will be based on the level of investment.

“We took to the Legislature in March a proposed draft bill for consultative purposes and intend to have a final bill ready in May. The objective is to stimulate more tourism development opportunities by direct foreign and local investment in Bermuda’s economy; and to capitalize on the excellent work the Bermuda Tourism Authority is doing to increase air leisure arrivals and create new products and experiences.

“The draft Bill would encompass the full spectrum of Bermuda’s tourism product, not just hotel development, and would demonstrate a shift from the ‘status quo’ to a jurisdiction that can compete in the global tourism market.

“Simply put, we are moving to a more competitive, modern legislative framework that is newly focused on attracting a greater diversity of tourism related investment.

“The revitalization of this sector has the greatest potential to spur economic growth and job development in the immediate and near future. This new direction will bring more training programmes for workers and more jobs. It will create a competitive investment environment for hospitality developers resulting in more profitable hotels and tourism products.

“It will encourage Bermudians to realize and take advantage of economic opportunities in the tourism sector through investment and re-investment leading to employment and greater contribution to GDP.

“So your event in November – and the information coming out of it – will be of significant interest to a wide cross-section of Bermudians. And we look forward to being the most hospitable of hosts.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Moving forward says:

    Well done BTA. I commend the work and committment. But what strategies and legislation have been discussed to encourage hotel development? While hotel development is good it is important to learn from the mistakes of other Caribbean nations versus emulating their strategies. It’s also important to attract the right hotels. I know that many Caribbean islands attract hotel development because they’re economically dependent on tourism resulting in poor regulations that in the long run can negatively affect the host country and its work force. This usually results in economic leakage from the hotels in the areas of 60-70% not to mention local workers are paid poorly and the country and it’s people are held in the choke hold of the hotels due to its economic dependence on them.

    All in all:
    Do not rush the investment process. Ensure that Bermudian workers at these hotels are paid fairly and that ultimately Bermuda and her people come first. Remember corporations are out to make money. While their investment is necessary it’s important to attract brands with the best moral and ethical operations socially (fair treatment of workers), environmentally (ensure hotel corporations maintain our prestine island) and economically (regulations that lessen the amount of economic leakage)

    • Kevin Dallas says:

      Hi Moving Forward -

      The Tourism Investment Act is out for consultation now; the act is aimed at stimulating hotel investment, but also investment in other areas of the tourism economy. Sustained Bermudian employment is a pre-condition for taking advantage of the benefits on offer.

      The Bermuda Tourism Authority are pushing for this new act to become law before Bermuda hosts the investor conference described above this Fall.

      Hope that helps!

  2. A new hotel and new airport is not gonna attract tourist, affordable prices will.

    • Bill says:

      I disagree. Our prices are fine as long as well give the comparable service to reflect the high prices.