Podcast: Jamahl Simmons On Bermuda Tourism

May 11, 2016

In the latest Bernews podcast, Shadow Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons talks about various aspects of local tourism.

He welcomed the recent uptick in tourism numbers and said: “We have to be very clear that the world is our competition now, and this uptick has to be sustainable, maintained and continue to grow.”

Bernews Podcast with Jamahl Simmons

Mr Simmons said part of the issue was marketing, while another issue was the product.

Speaking about the high cost of coming to the island, Mr Simmons said, “We have to look at the little properties as well as the big boys and together broaden our product and broaden our approach.”

If he were Tourism Minister, Mr Simmons said he would keep the Bermuda Tourism Authority but look for more accountability and openness, noting that they “are spending tax dollars.”

24-minute podcast with Shadow Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons: 

Mr Simmons also says he believes it is important to take the “day to day politics” out of tourism, adding: “I recognize the difficulty of getting a hotel to Bermuda….it is not easy to do.

“Part of the problem we have had is that we have been forced to mine for votes, and not always been able to connect the dots.

“We need to stop over-promising and under delivering,” added Mr Simmons, saying one should be “thinking about return on investment as opposed to a return at the polls.”

He also spoke about the importance of offering good service, differentiating ourselves, having Bermudians working in hospitality, and urged entrepreneurs to work towards filling any gaps in our offerings.


Bernews’ podcasts aim to provide an in-depth look at current affairs, and the text extracts above represent only a small portion of the full interviews.

You can also download the episode in MP3 format here, view past podcasts here, and subscribe via iTunes to download all our podcasts directly to your phone or tablet.

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Comments (9)

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  1. flikel says:

    “Speaking about the high cost of coming to the island, Mr Simmons said, “We have to look at the little properties as well as the big boys and together broaden our product and broaden our approach.”

    What specifically would you do to lower the high costs? The biggest expense of any business is labour. Would you encourage workers and the unions to take pay cuts? Would you encourage construction workers to take cuts to enable hotels to be built more cheaply?

    I feel there is great hypocrisy at play when it comes to tourism. We want to protect, and increase, salaries….while lamenting the high costs of vacationing in Bermuda. We cannot have both.

    • LiarLiar says:

      In 2012 it was noted that it costs on average $1mn per hotel room in terms of construction costs.

      The Minister of Tourism at the time, Wayne Furbert, acknowledged that this was a barrier to new construction and the Government was working with the unions to bring down the construction cost.

      It is no wonder that any new hotel developments demand concessions and want to include fractional/condo sales and casinos in their development.

      This is why we need to attract the higher net worth individuals. As the only way to attract the middle of the road vacationer will require labor costs to be reduced substantially. And given the reaction to a furlough day I doubt that this will ever occur.

      This is why it is disingenuous by some to compare our hotel prices with the Caribbean whose currency is worth less than ours and whose labor costs are much lower as well.

      • Sickofantz says:

        How could anyone dislike this clearly factual comment?

    • Dark Star says:

      Well said———-to add to this Bermuda is not as expensive as it once was. I travel around the Caribbean all the time for work and if you want to stay in a decent hotel its going to cost 4275>$400 a night, a resort or condo will be over $500 easy. Our food prices are on par—–the quality of our restaurants could use a helping hand as the rest of the Caribbean has open arms for foreigners and they get a ton of quality chefs and folks looking to open restaurants and bars. Liquor is basically more or less the same price- actually the only thing more expensive is labor fuel and land which doesn’t concern the tourist. The ‘Bermuda is to expensive’ conversation is dead, it died 10 years ago. Yes some things will be less and others will be more–Bermuda is on par with most other major destinations

  2. aceboy says:

    Just words. More words from a guy who is nothing but words.

  3. Navin Pooty Tang Johnson says:

    In other words Mr Simmons you have nothing to say but that never stops you….

    • wahoo says:

      You are right…the more he talks the less he says. It is as if once a month he rehashes the same old script.

  4. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Nothing but hot air lmfao!

  5. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    While clearly well meaning, Mr. Simmons has no experience nor specialist knowledge of tourism and tourism related matters. His opinions are nothing more than that. Tourism is a highly specialized field, and mere election does not qualify as expertise. While Bermuda has been asleep at the tourism wheel for, well, a few decades now, the world has changed. And thanks to BTA, Bermuda is on the long hard road of catch up.