BTA calls for legislation to help tourism

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The Bermuda Tourism Authority has called for legislation to encourage tourism investment and superyacht visitation in advance of the General Election.

With Bermudians set to take to the polls tomorrow, the BTA listed five policy priorities that they hope will be embraced by whichever party wins the government

“At the Bermuda Tourism Authority we work hard to establish bipartisan support on issues critical to tourism because we want all of Bermuda to buy-in, and benefit from, the tourism resurgence that is under way,” a statement said. “To keep that positive momentum going, it’s important for the next government to advance the following bipartisan issues before the year is over.”

The BTA call for the approval of the already drafted Tourism Investment Act, indented to secure tourism infrastructure investment in advance of the island’s hosting of the Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit in November.

They also called for legislation that will encourage superyachts to return to the island while protecting local charter boat operators.

“A successful superyacht tourism sector will have a significant positive impact on small businesses and visitor spending,” the statement said.

Other elements include “business friendly” legislation to support the beach economy to create jobs while protecting the environment and public beach access, vacation rental legislation to remove bureaucratic restrictions and introduce a “light touch regulatory approach”.

The BTA also call for the introduction of a film commission to attract photographic and film projects to the island, boosting on-island spending while improving international awareness of the island.

“This is by no means a complete list of the items the BTA will be working on,” the statement continued. “We also look forward to collaborating with the next government and all of our stakeholders on the next chapter of the National Tourism Plan, including lessening our organisation’s reliance on government funding and ensuring fairness in the application of fees across the tourism economy.

“In the meantime, the priorities above represent measures that can be delivered for the people of Bermuda this calendar year.

“The BTA was formed to provide steady and prudent leadership for our industry that is not susceptible to the volatility of politics. We trust we have lived up to that standard during this General Election campaign and we plan to continue this standard through Election Day and beyond.”

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