Column: ‘Bringing Tourism Back Post-Pandemic’

May 18, 2022 | 13 Comments

[Opinion column written by PLP MP Anthony Richardson]

The unanimous passage of the Fairmont Southampton Hotel Act 2022 on May 6, 2022 represents a clarion call to all Bermuda residents to ‘Get Ready’! Bermuda is now one step closer to seeing the iconic Fairmont Southampton reopen its doors. The passage of the historic Act is significant for more than the tourism industry but for all of Bermuda’s residents.

When operating, the Fairmont Southampton represented a quarter of Bermuda’s total hotel inventory and provided annual accommodation for over 55,075 visitors. Those visitors represented over $50 million in visitor spending, over $2 million in hotel occupancy tax and $2 million in BTA fees.

Beyond the numbers of visitors and the dollars, the hotel represents so much more. Real people worked at the hotel that we should never forget. Nearly 600 Bermudians – our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends. All of these people had and have bills to pay and families to support. We believe they are ready to get back to work and we must do everything possible to make work a reality for them again. We cannot wait 6 months. Now is the time to act.

In addition to the hotel workers, the PLP Government is aware of the wider impact of the hotel – please think of the taxi drivers, tour businesses, beach concessions, restaurants and retail stores. We can only imagine the increased impact of a newly remodeled and expanded hotel facility.

When the renovation begins, construction workers and all of the ancillary services will have an immediate positive impact. What is also exciting about the hotel’s reopening is that it will be completely upgraded and modernized.

Rendering of plans for the hotel’s renovations

After 50 years, the hotel is ripe for the intended renovation and upgrade. There is a tremendous amount of work to bring it to the level that our visitors expect and deserve. A major addition to the property will be a state-of-the-art convention center. A new facility capable of hosting conventions of significant size, will signal that Bermuda is back! The new convention center will allow Bermuda to attract major conferences and events to our island.

Bringing tourism back in a post-pandemic world will require Bermuda to be nimble, open-minded, and willing to adapt to the challenge of growing our arrival numbers and visitors’ spending. Our competition over the years has capitalized on our complacency and our unwillingness to modernize, innovate, and remain relevant to younger and more discerning travelers.

We must move with the times to give our people the opportunities to work, create businesses, sell services, and benefit from our tourism industry. And looking further into the future, employees will be required at every level.

To maximize the impact of the revitalized hotel, all of Bermuda must not only ‘Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready but Be Ready. ‘The time to start is now. The new hotel will provide the world-class hospitality and service that Bermudians are known for across the globe – we simply can’t miss this opportunity.

We believe that everyone agrees that the Fairmont Southampton significantly impacts our economy, our tourism industry, and most importantly, our people. The PLP Government understands the impact.

And while work remains to finalize the details of the agreement, both the Premier as Minister of Finance, our new Minister of Tourism and their respective teams, Public Officers and Private sector consultants have worked tirelessly to ensure the passage of the Fairmont Southampton Hotel Act 2022.

Team Bermuda – Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready.

- Anthony Richardson, Constituency 7 -Hamilton South

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Comments (13)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “In addition to the hotel workers, the PLP Government is aware of the wider impact of the hotel – please think of the taxi drivers, tour businesses, beach concessions, restaurants and retail stores. We can only imagine the increased impact of a newly remodeled and expanded hotel facility”

    Oh yeah, but the PLP didn’t see the wider impact of AC35 over three years? Pr*cks.

    • watching says:

      AC35 cost over 40M.
      And if that’s your only argument, sandgrownan, then i am assuming you are in support of this project.

      • sandgrownan says:

        I am merely pointing out the naked hypocrisy of the writer (and PLP supporters in general) and cognitive dissonance of those that say “get ready” for a new era. Didn’t David Allen say that in 1998?

        The reality is, the PLP couldn’t run a p*ss up in a brewery and have presided over 20 years of decline. To somehow say the have now got their eye on the ball makes me want to puke.

        And as for this deal, yes sure, we all want SP open again but have no idea about the “deal” and importantly, the precedent it sets for other development. The PLP are gambling with our money and given their track record of turning everything they touch into dog sh*t, I can’t say I’m thrilled.

      • sandgrownan says:

        AC35 also injected over $300M in to the economy, on which the PLP failed to capitalise.

        • wondering says:

          The PLP had all intentions of sabotaging (I’m not sure how) AC36…..xenophobic behaviour on full display!

          Check the comments by some of the PLPs best and brightest as well as, at the time, one of their biggest supporters (collectively) and individually.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        “AC35 cost over 40M.”

        Ok. But the benefit to Bermuda’s GDP was $336.4 million. That is 8.4 times a $40 million dollar investment within 3 years. I would take that kind of return on investment happily.

        The KPMG report can be found at https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjWhfDqnen3AhV_lIkEHQQhBd04ChAWegQIBxAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fparliament.bm%2Fadmin%2Fuploads%2Freport%2F96b48b507bc2a99e9fb84c37559da759.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1V6-GFF0lsG9jl1HHXpybM

      • saud says:

        AC35 returned $350 Million…You dishonestly omitted that fact…which negates your complaint.

    • White Wash says:

      It’s 30 -6 now go help the UBPoba change the name again so the PEOPLE know which party to vote for troll!

      • saud says:

        You know, your post defines “troll”. LOL.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        “now go help the UBPoba change the name again”

        And again that lie is perpetuated.

        Now nothing you say, White Wash, can be believed.

  2. wondering says:

    We really have lost the plot. Mr Richardson is another empty suit politician with very little business acumen who really believes that Bermuda can compete!

    With his mentality, and that if the PLP, we will sink further into debt!

  3. aceboy says:

    Apparently the new hotel will also end COVID. Afterall, we don’t want to see any complaints, like the one at St. Regis, up at the new favorite resort of the government.

    Laughable that Mr. Richardson highlights $4 in tax revenues as a benefit to the island….one the government just gave up for 15 years.

    The clown show continues.

    • wondering says:

      ……one of the biggest performers – A Richardson

      Participation badges dont count!

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