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Statement by The Hon. Wayne Furbert, Shadow Minister for Tourism

Shadow Minister for Tourism, The Hon Wayne Furbert today commended his
OBA counterpart for following through with tourism plans established
by the PLP.

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2013

Statement by The Hon. Wayne Furbert, Shadow Minister for Tourism

Shadow Minister for Tourism, The Hon Wayne Furbert today commended his
OBA counterpart for following through with tourism plans established
by the PLP.

Mr. Furbert said, “The Progressive Labor Party laid a strong
foundation in tourism which allowed the One Bermuda Alliance to
successfully move forward with ideas to revitalize this long stagnant,
critical industry. From the revamped marketing theme, “So much More”,
the establishment of a Tourism Board with authority to promote and
market Bermuda and most importantly, the National Tourism Plan; much
of the heavy lifting has been done already and now is the time for
results."

Mr. Furbert added, “I took note of Minister Crockwell’s comment and I
quote, “We are optimistic that the “So Much More” campaign is one that
will continue to help drive business. In looking at the campaign’s
impact since it was introduced in August, we saw load factors increase
every month – a positive sign that our message is getting through.’
With these words, the OBA has finally admitted that the PLP plan was
working.  I am delighted that the OBA is willing to acknowledge that
there were good things produced under the PLP and their willingness to
move forward with this plan is truly in the best interest of Bermuda.
For this we thank them.”

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Standing Strong for Our Young Filmmakers

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert announced that Alia Hamza won Bermuda Tourism's video contest. This contest gave young Bermudian filmmakers the opportunity to show their talents.

Minister Furbert:

Alia's video showed the beauty of Bermuda alongside one of our best known singers, Joy Barnum. The music is Joy's song 'Island home' and viewers are treated to the beauty that makes Bermuda such an appealing holiday destination with our beaches, lush greenery and friendly people.

The quarterly competition is open to all Bermuda residents.

Video content should target potential visitors to Bermuda and address the question why should you visit Bermuda. The content must inspire visitors to want to come with positive images and scenes. Additional criteria for production are all videos must be of HD quality; proof of ownership or copyright release for music is required in writing; videos should not exceed two-minutes; and must not include any obscene content or language and nudity and product marketing is prohibited.

The BDOT is seeking creative, innovative fun and exciting footage of Bermuda to promote the island on the Department's social media sites.

The next deadline for third quarter submissions is February 13, 2013 and the same rules and criteria will apply.

A committee will select the best video with the winner receiving $5,000.

The winning video will be posted on Bermuda Department of Tourism website, YouTube channel and FaceBook page.

The second quarter deadline is February 13, 2013. Entries must be emailed to Tina Evans Caines, Manager, On-island Communications, Bermuda Department of Tourism at emevans-caines@gov.bm

Watch the video: http://vimeo.com/54990955

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Need a Hospitality Job? Want Job Training? We're Here to Help!

The Waiter/Server programme is back and accepting applicants from Bermudians looking for training and job opportunities.

Today, Minister Patrice Minors encouraged unemployed Bermudians to apply for the Waiter/Server Programme.

The deadline for applicants is November 30, 2012.

Last year there were hundreds of real job opportunities available in the local hospitality industry and Bermudians who signed up to the programme were guaranteed jobs! It worked, and, now, we're doing it again.

According to Minister Minors, and any individual who is unemployed and who wants to work is urged to sign up for this year’s hospitality job programme.

The waiter/server programme is open to all persons seeking to reinvent themselves and pursue a career as a waiter or server. No experience is required and the training programme is being offered at no cost to the trainee.

Minister Minors:

Those who are employed as Waiter/Servers in our hospitality industry are on the front lines of ensuring that our visitors have a memorable experience here in Bermuda. Granted, the work can sometimes be tasking, however those who are accomplished waiter/servers have said that for them it has been nothing but a rewarding experience. They are in essence our tourism ambassadors for Bermuda. So it is our goal to prepare a pool of talented Bermudians available for employers when they begin their selection process for the 2013 season and beyond.

Individuals who work hard at this programme are guaranteed a job, and it is my hope that they will take advantage of this opportunity. This is a chance for Bermudians to excel in an occupation that they may have otherwise overlooked. This programme can assist with their entry into the hospitality industry, but it certainly does not prevent them. Once they’ve gained some experience, their opportunities are endless in exploring other options within the industry.

Interested persons, particularly those who are unemployed and who want to work are encouraged to contact the Department of Labour and Training or the National Training Board and get signed up.

Interested persons can contact 297-7714 or 292-3700 and sign up for the programme.

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Crockwell Grasps at Straws

Desperate to try to make some sort of attack against the PLP, Shawn Crockwell tried to spin bad news on the same day that a new restaurant that employs 15 Bermudians opened on Front Street.

The fact of the matter is that every year in the lead up to the off season, the Fairmont properties and others across Bermuda offer deep discounts.

There's nothing new about this - it's a time honoured tradition in the off season.

The next thing you'll know, the OBA and Shawn Crockwell will be blaming the PLP for the changes in weather - how dare the PLP cause winter! Perhaps the next fairy tale promise from the OBA will be to ensure that summer weather occurs all year round."

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Done! PGA Grand Slam of Golf Secured Through 2014

The PLP has secured the extension of a signature international golfing event that results in $40 million a year in revenue and publicity, the PGA Grand slam of Golf, through 2014.

Minister Wayne Furbert:

This is great news for Bermuda to have the PGA Grand Slam return for the next two years. During the past six years of hosting this event the beauty of Bermuda has been seen in countless millions of households across the world. I feel this is a great investment in our tourism product and attracts visitors to our shores to enjoy picture perfect rounds of golf at our world class courses.

The 31st edition of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be held October 15-16, 2013. While the dates for the 2014 Grand Slam are yet to be finalized.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a 36-hole season-ending showcase event that boasts the most difficult entry requirement in the game – a major championship – will be televised by TNT, October 15-16, 2013 to a worldwide audience in 85 countries and territories.

The PGA & TNT spend just over $1M whilst on island with approximately 60 Bermuda service providers. The combined value of media impressions for Bermuda, Port Royal & the Fairmont is just under $40M. TNT’s prime-time broadcast of the event reaches an audience of more than 400 million households in more than 85 countries.

The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is hosted by the Bermuda Department of Tourism, Port Royal Golf Course and the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.

This is a big deal for Bermuda tourism. It means $40 million in income and free publicity for our island. The PLP secured the event and we've kept it coming back to our shores. This is a big win for Bermuda.

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14 More Weeks of Sports Tourism Planned

Over the next 3-5 years, there will be 14 more weeks of sports tourism, the Tourism Board announced today.

Sports Tourism has been identified as the best potential high yield niche segment to boost occupancy in the shoulder season in Bermuda.

The study recommends continuing to focus on the rich natural sports tourism assets available in Bermuda such as Golf, Sailing, Beach Sports and Fishing in addition to growing the existing sports events into successful ‘sporting festivals’ like the World Rugby Classic in sports such as Hockey, Lacrosse, Beach Sports, Cricket, Soccer etc. It also identified the new emerging explosive trends in the Active Lifestyle Sports such as Adventure and Endurance racing that is ideally suited for Bermuda as ‘new’ events that need to be fostered and developed.

Sports Tourism in Bermuda increases individual visitor spending and visitor’s ‘complete satisfaction’ ratings significantly and positions Bermuda positively as an ‘active lifestyle’ destination matching with the countries new tourism slogan ‘so much more’.

The budget for Sports Tourism will be increased to drive the goal of doubling the visitor attendance to existing events and growing new events to add an additional 14 weeks of Sports Festivals events over the next three to five years.

Minister Randolph Horton:

The Sports Tourism unit will be run like a business. We will set our goals for increasing bed nights and economic & media impact and then go about achieving them. As in sports we expect to be judged on results. The Board have committed to giving us the resources we need to get the job done and we will be starting immediately using the new Sports Tourism Strategy as our guideline.

We have a vision to surely and steadily move this country forward. And, we look forward to adding more sports tourists in the years to come.

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In Spite of Hurricane, Air Arrivals Are Still Up

We lost a full weekend in September due to an impending Hurricane that didn't hit, but, canceled plenty of bookings. In spite of that, air arrivals are still up 2% for the third quarter!

This increase in tourism means jobs for Bermudians. It means that our taxi drivers, our tour operators and our hotels have more guests and more revenue. There's more good news. Minister Furbert:

Performance results of the ten largest hotels that make up 75% of all room inventory on the island also somewhat mirrored the positive trends for the quarter. Occupancy percentages realized were 86% in July 2012 compared to 88% in July 2011; 82% in August compared to 84% in 2011, and 56% in September compared to 54% in the previous year. It should be noted that these occupancy levels still significantly exceed the levels of the corresponding period of 2010, which negates the assertion that this is indeed the worst summer period. Recent positive statements from many hoteliers also indicate that they have been pleased with gradual, steady growth during the period.

While there's more work to do, it's clear that things are surely and steadily moving forward under the PLP.

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Furbert: Combined Opposition Attacks Hurting Bermuda

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert revealed that the constant attacks on Bermuda that you read in the newspaper, particularly coming from the opposition and anonymous online commenters are hurting Bermuda’s ability to attract tourists.

The Minister revealed that he recently received an email identifying tourists who were considering visiting our island. They passed after reading the negative stories in the daily and in anonymous online comments.

According to the Minister, the potential tourists said, “After some discussion and monitoring the newspaper from Bermuda we have decided to pass on vacating there next spring. The environment on the island seems to be negative.”

This doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident. When Minister Furbert posted this news on the facebook forum Bermuda Election 2012, Mr. Quency Phillips commented, “I've had numerous conversations with friends that have said the same thing to me as it relates to no longer wanting to visit the island.. I hope it changes soon.. for the record, I'm not Bermudian.”

Another commenter, A Bermudian recruiter, said that it also affects her business noting, “This is not good - and has been said many times before. I am in the recruiting business and time and time again, I am faced with convincing future employees for hard to fill positions NOT to read those blogs and negative comments attached to many stories. Some former expats and residents are also reconsidering Bermuda as a vacation destination because of the changes they see via they media outlets. They post about it sometimes before we hear it. Our only daily newspaper in my opinion does more harm to our community than it empowers us!”

In response to this troubling pattern, Minister Furbert noted, “I have read some of the most vile and disgusting comments made anonymously on online forums. I even read one comment that said that black Bermudians should, and I quote, “for those who blame white people for the situation they are in… don’t… you should blame YOUR ancestors, they were offered a chance to go back to Liberia..they didnt go.” That is an unedited quote!”

“What do you think a visitor would think of our island if they read that or any of the other vile and anonymous comments posted? But, it’s not just the anonymous commenters that we’re worried about. Bob Richards telling the world how much better the Cayman Islands is than Bermuda is doing us no favours. Craig Cannonier preaching his gospel of doom and gloom doesn’t attract business or tourists to our shores.

“We live in a connected world – and, the world is listening. The OBA, their friends in the media and their army of anonymous commenters keep talking down Bermuda at every opportunity. They don’t talk about the good things that are happening here. They don’t talk about the expanded social safety net that includes FutureCare and DayCare which are helping families during these tough economic times. They don’t talk about the EEZ and tax concessions for small businesses that are helping Bermudian owned businesses create Bermudian jobs. They don’t talk about the Incentives for Job Makers Act which is attracting and retaining international business in Bermuda. No. Instead, they are constantly negative.

“The OBA offers no ideas, no plans and no solutions. The OBA, the media and the anonymous commenters instead just spit upon Bermuda at every opportunity. It’s hurting our competitiveness. And, I, for one, have had enough. If they were serious about bringing this country together, they would be having a debate over ideas and vision – not just spewing constant negativity. It’s time for the OBA to stop spitting upon Bermuda and tell us what they would really do so that we can have a debate over ideas. Bermudians deserve to know who is really standing strong for them during these tough economic times.”

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PLP Delivers Fresh, New Tourism Marketing Campaign

Bermuda's tourism turnaround is already well underway with reports of full hotels and happy tourism operators being bolstered by increases in tourism arrivals. Now, a new marketing campaign is set to supercharge that effort.

Today, Minister Wayne Furbert announced the new marketing campaign: Bermuda is So Much More! Watch one of the ads:

Highlighted by a new logo featuring the slogan “Bermuda – So Much More”, the campaign is the culmination of months of research and, according to Minister of Business Development and Tourism, The Hon. Wayne L. Furbert, JP, MP, is a reflection of the direction laid out by the recently introduced National Tourism Master Plan.

Minister Furbert:

The “Bermuda - So Much More” campaign will communicate in a fresh and exciting way that Bermuda offers not only a breathtaking island with natural beauty, but also a nearby, culturally rich, history-infused escape with a variety of things to see, do and enjoy in all seasons, 12 months of the year.

The campaign will promote Bermuda’s key tourism segments as identified in the National Tourism Master Plan, including: Leisure & Entertainment, Beach, Eco & Nature, Cultural, Sports & Golf, Nautical, Cruise, Business Travel, and Meetings and Incentive groups.

Finally, the campaign will encourage visitation to all of the island, including the destination “hubs” identified in the National Tourism Master Plan, that include: St. George’s World Heritage Site & St. David’s Island, The City of Hamilton, South Shore Area, Royal Navy Dockyard and Offshore. Bermuda Tourism Board Chairman Maxwell Burgess:

This is an extremely well thought-out campaign based on consumer profiling that helped us gain a deeper understanding of the Bermuda customer than ever before. We were able to fully define target segments for Bermuda’s best customer prospects and develop a campaign that is based on research and concept testing with representative consumers in our core geographic markets.

The local Bermudian flavor extended throughout the creative process as well with Bermudian actors and models utilized for the majority of images in the campaign. Minister Furbert noted with excitement that “Bermuda is Another World”, one of the most iconic and beloved of all Bermudian songs, will be utilized to help tell the island’s story.

The tourism turnaround is underway. And, this new campaign will help to take it to the next level.

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Tourism Policy Change Helps Triple Crown Fishers Invest Even More In Bermuda's Economy

The Triple Crown Fishing Tournament likely brought north of $3 million into Bermuda's economy aided by the PLP's new immigration policy that allows tourists to stay 90 days instead of 21.

Minister Wayne Furbert:

The Government of Bermuda last year amended the immigration policy to allow visiting crews on boats to stay in Bermuda for up to 90 days instead of the previous 21 days. This has been an added benefit for visiting crews allowing them to stay in Bermuda longer. These visiting fishermen are vital to our economy and we will continue to work with our partners in the industry to ensure that they have plenty of reasons to keep coming back to Bermuda for many years to come.

Tournament organizers estimate that more than 25 visiting sport fishing boats are in Bermuda. In addition, visiting anglers charter local fishing boats to take part in the tournaments. Including the owners, crews, family and guests, it is estimated that this year’s tournaments attracted more than 400 visitors to the island.

Conservative estimates in past years reported the average spending per boat was approximately $125,000 or over $3M spent in our local economy. With boats staying longer and spending more money while in Bermuda on hotels, rental homes, dockage fees, food and beverage, fuel, entertainment and transport the average spend will surely be exceeded in 2012.

Things are tough, but, by making strategic policy changes like this, we're surely and steadily moving Bermuda forward and standing strong for Bermudians.

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