BTA: ‘Bill Poses Threat To Success Of Tourism’

December 12, 2017

[Updated] BTA CEO Kevin Dallas has written to Senators to express concern about “what the negative consequences could be for tourism if the Domestic Partnership Bill passes the Senate,” saying “we believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry.”

The Domestic Partnerships Act — which aims to replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples — has passed in the House, and the Senators will now cast their votes on it.

In a letter to the Senators dated today, Mr Dallas said, “Since last Friday’s vote, we have seen ample evidence of negative international headlines and growing social media hostility towards Bermuda that we feel compelled to express our concern about what the negative consequences could be for tourism if the Domestic Partnership Bill passes the Senate this week. We believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry. We urge you to vote no and appreciate the opportunity to lay out the reasons why.

Kevin Dallas TC Bermuda Dec 12 2017

“Importantly, we do not view domestic partnerships as a negative in isolation. In fact many jurisdictions permit domestic partnerships without adverse impacts on their economies. The circumstance in Bermuda is different – and troubling – in one important way: same sex marriage is already the law of our island and to roll that back for what will be seen as a less equal union will cause us serious reputational damage.

“We are convinced it will result in lost tourism business for Bermuda. While we cannot responsibly estimate what the scale of those losses will be, we can point to contemporary examples that tell a cautionary tale:

  • “Passage of the “Bathroom Bill” in North Carolina cost the state $3.76 billion in lost business, according to the Associated Press. While $196 million of the loss was tourism related, including a national boycott by the NAACP and the loss of NCAA events, there was also significant negative impacts on job creation when PayPal, Deutsche Bank and Adidas all cancelled plans to move to the state. Charlotte’s tourism industry pace has been negatively impacted well into 2019 and 2020.
  • “After Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed business owners to deny service to patrons based on sexual orientation, the state found it necessary to spend $2 million dollars on an ad campaign to rebuild its tourism image with travel consumers. That was in addition to 12 lost conventions and $60 million in lost revenue in the city of Indianapolis alone.

“At the Bermuda Tourism Authority, we work hard to keep our research and commentary on this issue restricted to economics. That’s our lane. The consumer economics of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] travel are this: $165 billion spent worldwide per year, $65 billion of that is spent in the United States alone. The Bermuda tourism economy, and the workers and businesses who make it thrive, deserve their fair share of the LGBT market as we all continue the uphill climb toward tourism resurgence.

“Significantly, it’s not only LGBT travellers that care about equal rights based on sexual orientation. Our research indicates many companies, consumers and travelers, including the overwhelming majority of the younger visitors powering Bermuda’s growth, care about this issue. It’s why the fallout in North Carolina and Indiana has proven so detrimental.

“While it’s not possible to project the precise ramifications of a yes vote for Bermuda, we are confident the impact will be negative. The ominous headlines since last Friday signal the hazards ahead. The yet-to-be-written headlines associated with a yes vote in the Senate could be damaging enough to derail the seven consecutive quarters of growth the Bermuda tourism industry has enjoyed dating back to January 2016.

“Tourism workers are getting more hours on the job, visitors are spending more of their money on-island and entrepreneurs are flocking to the tourism economy because they sense a bright future of sustained growth. Let’s not jeopardise that growth.

“We should send a message that Bermuda continually and permanently lives up to its well-earned reputation as a warm, friendly and welcoming destination. A no vote on the Domestic Partnerships Bill will make that message crystal clear to the world.”

Update December 13, 3.55pm: The BTA Board has now released a statement saying, “The Bermuda Tourism Authority is a non-political entity and decisions about Bermuda’s policies and laws are outside the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s remit and are the responsibility of Parliament. We have full trust in Bermuda’s elected and appointed officials to effectively carry out the democratic process on behalf of Bermuda’s citizens.”

The letter Mr Dallas sent to Senators follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (101)

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  1. Wassup says:

    In another story I posted about how the senators would be lobbied …. for the record – good for Kevin!

    • Onion Juice says:

      The PEOPLE of this beautiful Island have spoken, just like the July 18th and more recently Alabama.
      Morality and decency surpasses the lust and greed for money.

      • bdaboy says:

        “Morality and decency surpasses the lust and greed for money”

        then how do you explain the plp and their lust for money?

      • Mike Hind says:

        You do realize that you have more in common with Roy Moore than Doug Jones, right?

        Moore is a lying homophobe that wants to take people’s rights away, just like you.

      • the real Terry says:

        Onion Juice You wouldn’t know morality and decency if it bit you on your a$$

        • Onion Juice says:

          You and Mike can take your twisted thinking to a country that endorces it instead of trying to convince normal people to accept an unnatural way of life.
          Bermuda will still be a prime destination because of its uniqueness and friendly people. But because we’re friendly dont mean we are forced to accept ideologies against our will and culture.

          • the real Terry says:

            Onion Juice Don’t know whether you have noticed lately but Bermuda lost its prime destination status under the PLP and the BTA was formed with professionals to try and restore it to a “Prime Destination” and why would I take my thinking to another country when this is my Island.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Everything you have said in here is a lie that has been debunked many, many times.

            Please stop spreading lies. It’s bad for my country.

          • Mike Hind says:

            And why should I have to leave my own country. Do you think you have more of a right to be here than I do?

  2. fluffy says:

    I agree with him – it’s kind of hard to portray your island as being welcoming when it is passing intolerant laws. In particular, Bermuda has a pretty strong biz in destination weddings – kind of sucks to say “well only acceptable weddings of course”

    • Onion Juice says:

      This is becoming an obvious pattern, a certain group advocates Pathway to Status and SSM.
      P.L.P. you know what your base supports, so you do what you were voted in to do like O.B.A. catered to their base.
      Time for apologies and appeasing is over, thats why Paula got voted out.
      And if you dont cater to your base, your @$$€$ will be voted out next time.

  3. Spanner breath says:

    Not to panic that golf tournament there thinking of bringing here will bail us out! Oh never mind probably have to redo course again.

    Stay tuned for more bad decisions to come.

    • Starting Point says:

      The previous PGA g0lf events were good. The TV coverage was good and the events were well attendant, albeit mostly by locals. The sad thing is that there is no way that the Port Royal Golf Course could be used because its in just okay condition.

      It is sad really to go there and see how much that place had decayed in such a short period. If something gets knocked over, it sits there. The driving range fence was down for over a year before it was put back up. I’m talking about a safety fence erected to protect members, players, and users of the road from flying golf balls. Something gets broken, it might be months before anything is done. Sad.

      • Zevon says:

        For the PGA events they were giving away free tickets to schoolkids to try to make it look crowded for the last few years.

        • i heart 441 says:

          The reality of it is that Golf is a declining sport worldwide. The generation of 16-40 year olds are not playing the sport as much compared to the 40-80 year olds. This is a worldwide issue that Bermuda is not immune to.

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          And Tiger didn’t even come to the mickey mouse event lmfao…

  4. sage says:

    We have Police and Customs enter cruise ship tourists cabins and rummage through their possessions to arrest and convict them for small amounts of cannabis, I guess that is good for tourism. Before any of you say cannabis is illegal, that violates equal rights in itself, but hey who cares, the only human rights worth discussing is SSM the cause celebre for the narrow minded.

    • Wassup says:

      I think you have a good point re cannabis, but Ssm also needs addressing

    • Mike Hind says:

      As has been said to you many times, the two issues are exclusive from each other. Supporting Marriage Equality doesn’t mean we don’t support changing pot laws.

      Start a movement. Lobby the Government in a public way. Create groups of like minded folks to help.

      But denouncing another group for wanting the equality they deserve isn’t helping anyone.

      Is this message the kind of thing that you think will sway people to your cause? Cuz it really doesn’t work very well.

      • sage says:

        I am not against SSM, I don’t denounce your cause either, I just point out that the commenters supporting it don’t give a rats a$$ about anyone elses’ struggles to the point where they think SSM is the last bastion of equal rights. People are still being assaulted by cops, locked in jails and prisons for herb and have their lives ruined, sodomy was fully legalized 22 years ago, LGBTQ people can adopt kids, aren’t denied employment, are not subjected to forced ‘rehabilitation’ and we all know the Governor will not sign off on this bill if it even passes the senate anyway, so you can soon get married again, I just think ending the war on some drugs is more urgent. In my view the right to marry who you love and the right to smoke ganja are not exclusive from each other, they are two aspects of equal rights.

    • Zevon says:

      Using cannabis is a lifestyle choice.

      • sage says:

        Marriage is a lifestyle choice.

        • bdaboy says:

          “Marriage is a lifestyle choice.”

          lol, not for everyone. I’m not surprised that this flew over your head though.

    • Starting Point says:

      Police and customs are looking for large quantities of drugs, weapons, child pornography and much more than your small selfish mind might be able to comprehend. If someone is stupid enough to bring drugs (of any quantity), across any border…. well all I can say is its your own fault if you get caught. Proof that drugs kill brain cells! It is not a surprise to anyone. Some things about travel are just common sense like you can’t smoke on a plane, you cant carry a weapon on you, you can’t import drugs, and you respect the customs and laws of the country you are visiting. Customs are doing their job. Change the mindset of the people and change the law and their job description changes too. Perhaps you should smoke less and open your mind too. SAGE.

  5. Portia says:

    There is no threat to tourism. Tourists and cruise ships have been coming to Bermuda for many years even before SSM was a thing, and they will continue to come. No cruise ships or airlines will be pulling out, there is too much money at stake for them, and they are contractually obligated to make a certain number of visits over a certain time period.

    “While it’s not possible to project the precise ramifications of a yes vote for Bermuda, we are confident the impact will be negative.”

    Scare-mongering based on nothing factual.

    • Wolffey says:

      Agree !SSM is illegal in many Caribbean island and tourism ontinues to thrive. Scaremongering at its best.

      • ian says:

        Which is why those same Caribbean countries have fenced in resorts?

        • Onion Juice says:

          South Africa have SSM and they have fenced in resorts.

          • Bermudaperson says:

            Isn’t it sad that South Africa has more legal rights for the LGBT than Bermuda? You should be ashamed.

      • Hmmmm says:

        Clueless fools.

        Taking away rights does not sit well with people. This instant media age forms negative views that gain traction, snowball and become massive.

        This isn’t about not recognizing SSM as with other countries you may refer to, but in stripping people of their rights they currently have. Hitler did it with the Jewish population, Bermuda is doing it with the gay population here.

        • Onion Juice says:

          I dont see the gay population in Bermuda being rounded up and put in gas chambers, lined up in front of a firing squad and being isolated in camps and starving.
          Anything of all Bermuda has one of the highest tolerant attitudes toward gay people compared to other places.
          So your analogy is Fake News.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Onion Juice, you seem disappointed…

          • Toodle-oo says:

            Posted by yourself above ..

            *You and Mike can take your twisted thinking to a country that endorces it instead of trying to convince normal people to accept an unnatural way of life.
            Bermuda will still be a prime destination because of its uniqueness and friendly people. But because we’re friendly dont mean we are forced to accept ideologies against our will and culture.*

            And your latest untrue (as usual) claim

            *Anything of all Bermuda has one of the highest tolerant attitudes toward gay people compared to other places.*

            I suggest that you pose as a gay person and travel a bit , you know, like all the places we like to attract our visitors from , their home countries , and then return here and give us your insight on how high the tolerance is for gays in Bermuda.
            All you’ll have to do is look in the mirror and be disgusted .

        • sage says:

          Cannabis used to be legal, taking away certain rights does not sit well with some people. Do you honestly believe this bill, which is dead in the water, since the Governor won’t sign it, is somehow comparable to Hitler exterminating millions of Jews and others? Do you feel this kind of over-dramatization will get people to support your cause?

      • bdaboy says:

        “Agree !SSM is illegal in many Caribbean island …”

        and bermuda is no different. we are selfish. closed minded and bigoted. Bermudians never have anything good to say about people from the carribean, we think we’re better than them….but, we’re not. we’re no different

      • PBanks says:

        But Bermuda is missing/shunning a golden opportunity to have a leg up on its Caribbean neighbours with regard to tourism.

        In a continuously more challenging market, BTA is right to suggest that such a rollback would be damaging.

        Can someone from the anti- brigade suggest that tourism is in a position to grow instead? Attract say, a greater share of US evangelicals?

    • MB says:

      Yes they been coming for years but they havent exacy been great let alone good years for tourism, so bad, no developer would put a shovel in ground.
      The anti gay, ant gambling, anti everything stance can stop all the AC progess of late in its tracks…for what? To make the ‘good’ church going folk happy? This is why bda will never see tourism really boom year round.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Let’s see… who should we listen to?

      The head of the BTA, with qualifications we know are valid and who has a track record we can review…

      Or some random anonymous person with a track record of lying and spreading misinformation in order to push their proven anti-equality agenda?

      The choice is so difficult…

    • Aware says:

      This is rubbish. If we had never adopted SSM and were just adopting domestic partnerships I would agree with you. However, we are taking away something that is already in place which is a very backward step, which many international audiences will see as bigoted. Kevin is right. Our fledgling economic recovery in tourism does not need this.

  6. JUNK YARD DOG says:


  7. Marge says:

    Who is anyone to say who can marry and who can not marry,some idiot parliamentarian made this ridiculous ruling and his cohorts voted along with him !!!!! let us hope the Senators do not agree with this ruling.

    • Common sense says:

      Can you marry your mother? Your sister? So in other words, someone can actually say who can and can’t right? Pretty much been that way forever. SSM = the flavour of the month for political correctness.

      • Mike Hind says:

        You’re absolutely right. There has always been restrictions.

        But there is ALWAYS a reason given to do so.

        For example, immediate family, as in your example, can’t get married because it is a conveyance of rights they already have and would, thus, be redundant.

        The problem with the opposition to Marriage Equality is that there has never been a reason given. Not one that stands up to the simplest of questions.

        So… your post? It’s false.

        • HW says:

          More inconsistency from you. What about celebrating love? Love is love, right? Everyone should be free to love who they want and have their love recognized and celebrated. So why not allow for those relationships to also be celebrated? You ALSO are denying a segment of the population their ‘rights’.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Nice to see you pop up ‘cuz you think you have a point. Not to worry, I know you’ll run away if I ask a question.

            As I mentioned, the folks that are denied access to marriage – and other rights – are denied them for a reason. Always.

            If you ask about the instances you are so bravely hinting that I support, without having the courage to mention, I bet I can offer valid reasons for that denial.

            But I’d be more than willing to bet that you won’t be able to do the same thing.

            So run off, like usual. Thanks for posting.

            As usual, you are wrong.

  8. jt says:

    We now know what the next piece of legislation will be. The BTA were warned not to make waves when the casino legislation was altered.

    • Marge says:

      So now can we expect from flip flop tourism minister to fire Kevin..
      lord Premier, for the good of the party get rid of your tourism minister.

  9. Hmm says:

    It’s all part of the PLP plan to destroy everything the OBA built. They have it all thought out. First they took control of the gaming commission, now they want to go back on gay marriage, once they see that our visitor numbers are down due to the bad press they will reform the BTA and take control of that too.

    RIP Bermuda

    • Worried about Bermuda says:

      They are reading the Trump manual on government

  10. Rocky5 says:

    Kevin’s gonna be fired by Minister Jamal Simmons very soon, unfortunately.

    • Um.... says:

      It’s not so much unfortunate. But he is a civil servant no matter how you look at the structure of the BTA. He shouldn’t be commenting about legislation.

      • hmm says:

        He has all the right to comment on a piece of legislation that could cripple our tourism economy. His job, along with his team, is to grow our tourism economy and to combat anything that would try to detract from it. You are a fool

  11. Real Deal says:

    We will not change who we are for visitors/money. if you like Bermuda for who we are then come if not stay where you are.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      There we have it. Priceless! How are we supposed to succeed with that type of mentality amongst us?

    • ian says:

      Who are we?

    • Mike Hind says:

      Who we are is NOT a bunch of hateful bigots who refuse rights for no reason. That may be who YOU are, but that’s not who Bermudians are.

      • Blackjack says:

        Mike, you’re far too charitable. Of course we are mainly a bunch of bigots, not to mention hypocrites.

    • bdaboy says:

      “We will not change who we are for visitors/money.”

      And to that I say, F*** you!

    • Hmm says:

      You’re the biggest fool I have seen in this comment section. You can’t tell a customer/tourist to just deal with it. For example that’s like a business owner telling people “this is all we sell, don’t like it? Deal with it”. The customers will just take their money and go to another store. A smart business owner would bring in the products their customer wants. Young travellers both heterosexual and LGBTQ are highly in favor of same sex marriage. If they pass this law they will take their money elsewhere. We should open our doors to ALL travellers regardless of their race, religion, creed or sexual orientation. By not doing so you’re telling the world your country is bigoted, this will result in not only LGBTQ people coming here but also young millennial was well.

      On a side note the PLP promised to create jobs. By passing this legislation they’re doing the total opposite. People working in the tourism sector or looking for jobs in the tourism sector will suffer.

      • Real Deal says:

        I think not Bermuda dose want to become Thialand where people go to pillage the population. there are billions of people in the world and we get to pick and choose. for our young Bermudan will stand strong to the values that have grown us for generations and made Bermuda the place it is to. a place where visitors are stun by the kindness of the populaces.

        there have been outside influences before that have tried to weaken us but we will hold on

        and continue to hold on to our morals and pass them on to our kids so they too will stun visitors with kindness and keep our culture strong for generations.

  12. Uh oh. Prepare to be “boarded” says:

    You spoke out against the machinery. That equals disrespect and hence an unwillingness to cooperate.

    I think thats the MO the children that run our Gvt operate under these days.

    Very good piece Kevin and well done to you and the team for commenting

    You guys do a great job with tourism. True professionals. Keep up the good work.

  13. spider says:

    I wouldn’t like to be gay right about now. As if life wasn’t already hard having to deal with being different and our government is too weak to just tell some people to just worry about their own lives and stop meddling in other people’s affairs. Bermuda is truly another “retarded” world. Disgusted our politicians won’t stand up for minorities. Completely disgusted.

    • sage says:

      Using ‘retarded’ in that context is considered offensive, not cool.

      • spider says:

        “Hinder, impede, delay the development of progress”,which part of this is offensive and not reflective of the situation.

      • Hmmmm says:

        Fits the definition well because of the acts of a few gutless politician.

    • HW says:

      Speaking of minorities, please let me know when you’ll be retracting your disgusting and most hateful statement aimed at those who are mentally challenged.

      The fact that you would use the word ‘retarded’ as a way to slander those who believe in traditional marriage is not only a disrespectful way to address those who share different values from yours, but most importantly and worst of all, it’s a heinous and unnecessary attack on people who are mentally challenged. Shame on you for using such hurtful language.

      • Mike Hind says:

        And you know ALL about heinous and unnecessary attacks, don’t you, seeing those are you usual weapons of choice in a debate?

        Look at all this faux pearl clutching from a bigot who thinks it’s ok to hate gay folks. Ridiculous.

  14. Coffee says:

    Gays have been visiting Bermuda since the Deliverence . Married gays spend plenty of money in Bermuda year round , they come here from all over the world .

    • MB says:

      How do u know this?

      • Coffee says:

        Over thirty five years in the tourism industry …

        Gays , like any other ” different ” people have always lived amongst us … Even in ancient times , long before the discovery of this little reef .

        • Hmmm says:

          This isn’t about gay people visiting or not visiting, it is about people who will not visit because they would prefer to not spend their money in a country that takes away human rights. Although you may not be amongst those who support equal rights and would not care if your rights were taken away, most of the world does care and view human rights and equality as something that should not be diluted in any way shape or form.

    • Cow polly says:

      At least one major cruise line was offering SSM packages for it’s 2018 season. Can you imagine the impact on them this decision is having?
      As to your other ignorant comment, if a country reversed a segregation law would you still visit that country? Didn’t think so

      • Coffee says:

        As they say , ignorance is bliss … This island is self segregated … Do you go to church on Sunday ? Have you any driven through Point Shares or Tucker’s Town perhaps ?

        Even our political parties are segregated … TODAY ….. From the roots of the settlement to TODAY .

        That cruise ship must come , we don’t discriminate against gays … Don’t get it twisted

        • Mike Hind says:

          “We don’t discriminate against gays”???

          Did you just write that with a straight face?

          You’ve been dishonest before, but this is a new low!

    • jt says:

      Even with that position surely you can see lost potential.
      Unfortunately all of this serves to redirect from the heart of the issue and is an unfortunate argument to have to present.

  15. Joseph says:

    It never affected tourism before why it affects it now. Our shops make good revenues from cruiseships.

  16. and POOOO Bear says:

    I fear the very carefully hand picked “INDEPENDENT” senators will follow party lines or they will be FIRED by the Flip Flops

    • Stinging Nettle says:

      Really makes one wonder if the independent senators have Bermuda’s long term best interest at heart. To say am disappointed is an understatement.

  17. Kevin says:

    Kevin you have sent a message but be mindful the PLP do not like to be questioned their faithful are deaf not blind as they only see one thing as the difference between what is accepted and what is not . The BTA will be the next to be brought under control …as stated before they know one way …theirs
    So Bermuda it wont be long before we either stand up and stop this or take it and watch our country slide so deep we cant ever recover

  18. Tsf says:

    People and their old ways of thinking… this is why we’ve failed at tourism for so long and maybe as a country if we don’t figure it out soon… While the rest of the world moves forward we intentionally MOVE BACKWARDS… I don’t think government understands how quickly a few LGBT boycotts can reuin Bermuda’s rep overnight… Guess who’s loses? Us.

    Oh and if Burt decides to open the flood gates to international firms which will allow them to directly compete with the pre existing ones, all while increasing payroll taxes to 20% – things are going to get really interesting really fast. Consider 3-4 firms which collectively employee 400+ staff disappearing overnight…

  19. new day says:

    BTA be quiet, stay out of politics.

    gays dont make up much of our tourism.

    You full of S..*

    getting more and more tired of the lgbtabc group. Newsflash you are not that important.

    • Mike Hind says:

      If you are so tired of hearing from them, why not ask the Government to stop harming them? Then they’ll go away and you won’t hear from them again.

      Simple solution.

    • Truthertz says:

      And neither are you or yours.

  20. Pushback says:

    Kevin Dallas we believe that you are a unnecessary threat to the success of the Tourism industry. Your duties now need to be taken away because there is nothing to say that anyone cares enough about this or Bermuda especially travelers. Some of the most homophobic countries see millions of tourist.

    • Mike Hind says:

      This is just lashing out because you don’t like what he has to say.

      How is he a threat to tourism?

      You just want to punish him because he dared speak out of line and we can’t have ANY opposition to your precious bigotry, now can we?

  21. Cranberry says:

    Be sad for the Island if people start to pull their business and links from Bermuda because they don’t want to be associated with the PLP bigotry and xenophobic stance… I wonder what the Governor will say when asked to sign the laws into life…

  22. One Who Escaped says:

    Its hard to reason with ignorance and religious dogma.

  23. One Who Escaped says:

    Neither are you.

  24. God'sTruth says:

    LoL praise God,for those ships can keep sailing to other regions and park up were they can thrive all they want. Bermuda is and will always be touristic and beautiful no matter what. Kevin dallas needs to hop on one of those ships his crying about and find is future!!! lol Merry Christmas to all my No, No Voters!!!

    • Mike Hind says:

      Yes. Bermudians should have to leave their home because you don’t like something that has absolutely no effect on you.

      You’ve lost your mind

      • Stinging Nettle says:

        The number of “leave if you don’t agree” or “put up or shut up” comments seem to have increased in recent months. So much for tolerance and ability to agree to disagree.