Tourists enjoy a stroll along the beach. Tourism Board member Senator Vince Ingham said Bermuda has a wealth of possibilities, both onshore and offshore, for those with vision. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Tourists enjoy a stroll along the beach. Tourism Board member Senator Vince Ingham said Bermuda has a wealth of possibilities, both onshore and offshore, for those with vision. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: Tourism should be a year-round industry. PLP Senator Vincent Ingham, who is also the Junior Cabinet Minister for Tourism and on the tourism board, outlined to business leaders last Thursday at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, the new national plan that requires cooperation between the public and private sectors to help achieve the goals.

Senator Ingham said: “It’s not an easy task, but it is a good plan and a very doable plan. We’re very cognizant we can move this plan forward.”

Senator Ingham said the common sense plan “helps us to prioritize and focus our attention on areas we need to concentrate on. It also provides the context for policy and it also takes us a long way in how we should spend and how we should invest.

“Tourism is business; business is tourism. This plan brings forth a framework that other businesses can use to move their challenges in terms of how they see themselves and growing in Bermuda. This plan provides valuable insights.

“We need to understand what we can do to improve it and establish expectations in the marketplace.”

Senator Ingham added: “It was important that as we looked at the tourism industry that we move forward to ensure that we were utilizing what we already had in play because there is a risk, a real risk, that we could lose a retailer, a hotel if we did not give sufficient attention to ways and means of better utilizing those assets that are already in play.

“We didn’t want to see any further contraction in the tourism sector. Contraction leads not only to loss of business, but leads to the loss of jobs — another blow to our economy.”

He said it was important for the National Tourism Plan to look into the future.

“...A future that sees tourism in play all year round.”

Senator Ingham said that’s important because it creates a sense of hope of a new beginning.

“Where Bermudians will now look at tourism as an opportunity if guaranteed for more than just a few months of the year.

“It was also important to establish a new direction that says to businesses, that are looking at opportunities within Bermuda, that this is not something you shouldn’t do, because our driver is to turn this destination into a year round destination and it is a good business to be in.”

He said it was key to invite new capital to Bermuda and that can only be done if it can be shown that the island presents an opportunity to make money here.

He said the challenges facing Bermuda tourism is one that faces many businesses — policy, environmental and societal issues.

“We see policy that can help or policy that can hurt. These challenges need to be taken head on as a part of effecting the necessary changes that we need to bring the business back.”

He said Bermuda still has the fundamental strengths that can help turn tourism around.

“I believe there is opportunity and this is a great time to explore opportunity.”

He said the National Tourism Plans shows there are still many opportunities to be had in Bermuda.

“Those opportunities reside in our people; they reside in the environment whether they be onshore or offshore. What we’ve got to do is reconnect with those opportunities and bring them to life.”