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The OBA Must Get Serious About Tourism

18 August 2015

August 18, 2015.

For Immediate Release

The OBA Must Get Serious About Tourism

Statement from Shadow Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva JP MP


"The Progressive Labour Party continues to be concerned about the lack of progress in the Tourism sector.  Today, once again, the BTA have announced that air arrivals are down from 2014. We have now hit a new low, as these arrivals are below the 48 year low seen in 2014. Who from the OBA or BTA will be held accountable and when?


The General Manager of the BTA, Bill Hanbury said that the BTA would own the 2015 numbers.  The Progressive Labour Party wants to know what will the BTA do to reverse this trend? Platitudes & promises are not enough.  We need to know what the strategic plan is for the BTA to reverse these record low air arrival numbers and how it will be achieved. These numbers show that tourism is in crisis mode and answers are required.


Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell has been a staunch supporter of Mr. Hanbury and the BTA, but how can we justify bonuses like we have seen paid to the BTA executives, when all important air arrivals are at their lowest in 48 years?  Something is not going right at the BTA and as the Opposition we will hold the BTA and the OBA government to account.  Why is the BTA paying more for staff costs & bonuses than they spend annually on advertising Bermuda overseas? How do we expect to see the numbers increase when the top heavy BTA isn't designating the required funding to market our island sufficiently?


A Progressive Labour Party government would invest the $11M gained this year from the increase in tourism taxes into tourism marketing & development.  In the mid 2000’s we increased tourist air arrivals by investing in marketing and associated resources and air arrivals in 2007 were 36% higher than they were in 2014. The PLP focused on maintaining our airlift and marketing our destination and the figures that are 36% higher than the figures than the BTA are producing are proof that with proper allocation of funding to developing and marketing Bermuda we can succeed.


The One Bermuda Alliance must get serious about Tourism in Bermuda. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses with no accountability is doing nothing to improve the state of tourism for our people. It’s not about us, it’s about our children and our children’s children."