Government must establish a Tourism Authority
Government must establish a Tourism Authority to help guide the tourist industry in Bermuda, according UBP leader Kim Swan.
Mr Swan was reacting after Tony Brannon yesterday revealed he had been axed from the Tourism Board.
In a statement this morning, Mr Swan said: “It is not my intention to focus on why Tony Brannon was fired from the Tourism Board or point fingers at the well intentioned Minister of Tourism Mrs Patrice Minors.
“The truth is that 13 years since a Tourism Authority was first proposed by the last UBP Tourism Minister David Dodwell the concept remains what is best for our struggling Tourism industry.
“Former UBP Minister Dodwell and his UBP colleagues of ‘98 recognised at that time, that the time had come for a Tourism Authority for Bermuda. Clearly, this shift would go a long way to take the bureaucracy and politics out of the management and decision making of this vital industry.
“For far too many years this call (for a Tourism Authority) has proven to be a futile exercise whilst Tourism continued to spiral downward led by politicians. For the record, the decline was recognised by the UBP during our tenure and a Tourism Authority was a solution to arrest the decline.
“Unfortunately, since 1998 successive PLP Tourism Ministers have continued with the model that they inherited. But worse still ignored the most important recommendation of a Tourism Authority and why it was and is necessary. One such example is the plethora of policy changes with each new Tourism Minister.
“Today we have an opportunity to embrace the best decision for our Tourism industry. A decision which was also a recommendation from the Bermuda First Committee report that Co-Chaired with former Premier Ewart Brown and tabled in the House of Parliament in 2010. That is the establishment of a Tourism Authority.
“Bermuda can be reassured that other jurisdictions like Hawaii in 1998 have experienced similar considerations and implemented Tourism Authorities that truly empowered their private sector industry stakeholders.
“A successful economic future for Bermuda hinges on the rejuvenation of private enterprise, the creation of more local jobs and a smaller government; and all that that entails.
“A Tourism Authority would be a huge step to empower Bermuda’s business intellectual capacity and ignite increased entrepreneurial spirit of the private industry.”