Minister: Cruise Provided ‘Invaluable Information’

September 26, 2019 | 47 Comments

Minister Zane DeSilva recently took a “mystery-shopper cruise” from New Jersey to Bermuda, saying that the “assessment provided invaluable information” to understand from a “visitor’s and cruise line’s perspective, what we are doing well, and where improvements are needed.”

As previously reported, the trip cost $3,888.41 and saw the Minister travel on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Anthem of the Seas in August.

File photo of the Anthem of the Seas in Bermuda:

Anthem of the Seas Bermuda May 2 2016 (1)

Minister Zane DeSilva said, “As Minister of Tourism and Transport, part of my responsibility is to ensure that the Bermuda Brand delivers a first rate experience for our visitors, and that local goods and services have equal opportunity to be promoted to our visitors.

“In an effort to obtain knowledge of what information is communicated about Bermuda to our visitors, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport recently organised a mystery-shopper cruise from New Jersey to Bermuda. As a participant, I experienced first-hand what cruise lines and passengers say or advise about Bermuda, prior to arrival.

“It was also an opportunity to understand what it is like for visitors, when two ships, with over 6000 passengers combined, are in the Royal Naval Dockyard, and everyone is trying to obtain transportation around the island.

“My experience included shopping at local shops and riding with visitors on the public bus to Horseshoe Bay and experiencing the beach’s amenities. I also took a taxi to visit Crystal Caves, Tobacco Bay and toured Hamilton and St. Georges.

“Ultimately, the assessment provided invaluable information that will allow my Ministry to understand from a visitor’s and cruise line’s perspective, what we are doing well, and where improvements are needed.

“I intend on giving a Ministerial Statement on my experience and findings in the near future.”

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Comments (47)

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  1. Seascape says:

    Wow…

  2. aceboy says:

    Shipgate

    No doubt you were in a very nice suite and not in a room occupied by 95% of visitors.

    Cruising on our dime while the economy goes down the toilet.

    25-11!

  3. Ringmaster says:

    A disgusting abuse of his position, but not surprising coming from him. Morally bankrupt. Expect to hear more from other PLP elites. Oh wait, Speaker Lister and Kim Swan have just been to Africa on a fact finding mission. Spend, spend, spend then tax, tax, tax.

  4. toadinthehole says:

    what an utter waste of taxpayers money. This is beyond belief.

  5. sandgrownan says:

    He’s getting in on Famous’s travel blog series! Awesome.

  6. myfiveyearoldcoulddobetterthanthis says:

    Seriously? This is research? This is something the BTA have never done? $3K on accommodation – was that a suite or did more than one person go?! Outrageous use of taxpayer money by a multi-millionaire

  7. Go for it Zaney, when they are in they do a pack of ingnorance and think nobody cant say nothing to them.
    And after de JetGate fiasco ya boy has de gall to speak on morality.
    LMAO

  8. dick francis says:

    maybe at Christmas zane can hitch a ride with Santa to do some mystery shopping.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “Invaluable information” my arse. This bie took a vacation on the taxpayer’s dime. If the shoe was on the other foot, they would be raking the OBA over the coals for something like this. The hipocrasy is unbielevable.

  10. swing voter says:

    umum….Im not a very smart person, but I would not have wasted ministerial time cruising, Im sure he could have handed this task off to one of many underlings

  11. comfortably numb says:

    Presumably, having had us pay $3000+ for his ticket, I would hope Zane was staying in the owner’s suite so not sure how much contact he had with the rest of the cruise passengers. As to exploring travel arrangements while on island he could have done that by driving up to Dockyard and standing in line like every other tourist. What a waste of our money!

  12. MobeyDick says:

    Did you bring any sand with you? Nice freebie trip eh?

  13. Eve says:

    This was a good move by Zane to personally experience what cruisers experience sailing to Bermuda and moving out across the island. The BTA should have done this type of investigation a year ago or even sooner. The BTA could have found a “mystery couple” who didn’t work for BTA, never been to Bermuda and have them do a similar fact finding cruise. BTA hands out hundreds of free trips each year to “influencers” who only have to post a photo on social media to justify receiving the trip. These ‘influencer’ trips provide little or no feedback to BTA and are no value in evaluating visitor experiences. Sounds like Zane intends to present his trips findings to the House which will be interesting to hear his findings.

    • Seascape says:

      You can’t be serious…all they have to do is go to Facebook, Trip Adviser to get information…Plus BTA has been handling tourism quite well.

      Total waste of taxpayers’ money. Our economy is going down, down, down…while they all travel using our money.

      • Eve says:

        You can go on social media and get bits and pieces of cruisers opinions, the ones who choose to post, but you can’t put together a complete cruise experience. YOU should go to Facebook and look at the thousands of dollars BTA just spent partying at the U.S. Tennis Open, BTA gave away more in swag and other freebies than cost of Zane’s trip six times over. Go too Facebook and look at the luxury travel experiences of BTA execs accompanied by their partner/companion/spouse; their travel expenses are not made public for you to comment on.
        BTA has only been doing well because they told you how well they were doing, and you believe it. Air visitor numbers are declining during a time when more Canadians and Americans are traveling outside their country.
        Regardless of Zane’s reputation he does come up with a good idea every so often that others have overlooked.

        • Sandgrownan says:

          Nope. He’s living high on your dime and you’re too dumb to realize it.

          • Eve says:

            Obviously you missed BTA 101 where it was explained that BTA is funded from the same purse as Zane’s trip, and they (BTA) are living much higher off the dime. Who is dumb now???

        • Real Deal says:

          thanks you finally some common sense in the comments.

        • aceboy says:

          The cruise experience the Minister had was a high end suite, which 95% of cruisers don’t pay for. So his experience was just what the big spenders would be, not the majority of people who cruise to Bermuda.

          He would have experienced no delays on transport or what it feels like to have a deadline to reboard the ship returning to the US.

          This was just a nice holiday for Zane. If you think it is anything else you are blinded.

    • sandgrownan says:

      How far up Zane’s backside can you get your nose?

    • Baygrape says:

      This is another attempt for Zane to try to be relevant in the tourism space. The BTA is running the show and he has no doubt been told to be seen “doing tourism” or his relevancy will be questioned. It is a waste of our tax dollars.

    • dick francis says:

      wow, you don’t think the BTA does this already?

  14. One Who Escaped says:

    Really though!

  15. Unclebrothercousin says:

    About as believable as “the money was just resting in my account, judge.”.

    Call it for what it is – an all-expenses paid ‘jolly’.

    Membership has its privileges, inna Zane?

  16. Triangle Drifter says:

    “Undercover Boss”. NAGHT!!!! You can bet the whole crew knew who he was before the ship pulled out if the dock. Once on the island everyone knew.

    Nothing more than a junket at taxpayer expense.

    Much better to send a nobody who has had years of experience in the hospitality business & is now retired from it to get an objective report.

  17. CHRIS says:

    This man has to go. He has NO PROBLEM wasting tax payer dollars as is already evidenced at Port Royal! what the heck is wrong with people who voted for this man?

  18. truthertz says:

    If the PLP can use taxpayers’ monies to pay their former leader $1.2m and give lucrative ‘consultancy’ contract to MP’s wife and other insiders, why can’t they use it to pay for Minister’s vacations?

    It is not like their supporters will ever hold them accountable. Just imagine if an already rich OBA representative (ie Dunkley) did this on the taxpayer dime.

    You all know what the PLP was like before, so I wouldn’t waste my time moaning as they simply don’t care what you think.

  19. Ty says:

    Zane says:-

    “My experience included shopping at local shops and riding with visitors on the public bus to Horseshoe Bay and experiencing the beach’s amenities. I also took a taxi to visit Crystal Caves, Tobacco Bay and toured Hamilton and St. Georges.”

    …….With a voucher that said – with thanks from the people of Bermuda. Did you also thank those people in the stores that sent you on this trip.

    If you really want to know what travelers experience on the buses/shops and so forth here in Bermuda……Next time send me – (a gay man) I will tell you EXACTLY how we (tourists) are treated on this island.

    I can only imagine this man trying to be inconspicuous….so – to you Zane DeSilva – from me………..You are welcome.

    I look forward to more __________ from you and your party. (fill in the blank)

  20. dunn juice says:

    Hi im the minister of tourism and transport in Bermuda, I just wasting taxpayers money see how cruises get into Bermuda.
    He cant get a bus service together but want to make sure our tourist get a first rate service..
    Im going get some bunker sand,

  21. Young says:

    Ship in NYC boarding to BDA…Hello all, welcome aboard… this is your captn.. We have a few VIP travelling today from BDA. In one hour you can meet them at the door of the casino. They will be sitted in pink BDA shorts and pink shirts. They are apart of the Government. Any questions about were to go play golf, eat and swim they will assist you… Mistery shoppers…lmao… Mistery shoppers are are just that. A mistery…u have no clue who they are, but of course BERMUDIANS in power have to be known, in order to receive perks and attention. This guy is a clown, PLP supporters are brain dead…

  22. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    BUT IF THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT THEY WOULD BE CALLING FOR RESIGNATIONS….THINK PEOPLE! THIS GUY IS RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICH….and spending YOUR money!

  23. question says:

    It’s not just the money wasted on the Cruise ticket. We pay this dumb$$$ thousands of dollars a week and THIS is what he does with his time? Anyone else would be fired.

  24. Andrew W Outerbridge says:

    Hmmm….The Cruise ship crowd spend precious little in Bermuda…fact!…that is why our stores are closing. There is only ONE real beneficiary to the cruise ship dollar…THE BERMUDA Government. The rest is simply BS…

  25. Spittal Pond skink says:

    And this week we just flew him to Monaco so he could give a quick speech and then go look for a new boat, to drive around by himself, at the Monaco super yacht boat show.
    Add to that he now gets to double dip the Port Royal debacle with the PGA golf lark.

    Will it ever stop with these pirates!!

  26. dick francis says:

    Zane needs to spend five days driving bus so he can sort out the schedule!

  27. Real Deal says:

    This is common sense why the cruse was need. would you want to get improvement recommendations on are road from someone who dose not drive on our roads?

  28. Me says:

    Was he celebrating his new Port royal contract ?

  29. Real Deal says:

    if you don’t know Zane is a hands on type of person. let the man get the first hand information he needs to give the direction is will stamp his name on.

  30. Sunflower says:

    Really! How many more times and ways will the PLP Government hoodwink Mr/Mrs Bermuda. I can’t afford to go cruising but, Zaney can go. Bunch of baloney. Everyone travels at a different level according to their pocket books. I’ll bet he went top notch all the way. Nothing but the lap of luxury for Zaney. He will probably say it didn’t work out and he has to do a re-do. There are any number of travel experts right here on this Island so why did HE have travel. Look @ Travel Edge, year’s of travel experience there. I guess Zaney was stressed out and needed a holiday on US fools. I am so sick and tired of being taken advantage of in my own country!!

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