THURSDAY, MARCH 29: An ‘autonomous’ Tourism Board with increased powers has been appointed to promote Bermuda as a holiday destination.

The new board will have 18 members and will be given statutory powers to act with ‘limited’ Ministerial influence.

It will initially be funded by taxpayers but Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert stated that the industry would be sharing some of the costs in future.

Mr Furbert told a press conference this morning the appointment of the new board was ‘the dawning of a new age’.

He added: “In order to fulfill our mission, we have to make one more major change, and that is to appoint a Board that has statutory powers to carry out its duty without fair and favour.

“The Board currently is an advisory Board to the Minister. By giving the Board statutory powers it gives the ability to make decisions with limited Ministerial input.”

The new Bermuda Tourism Board will be chaired by former UBP MP and Minister Maxwell Burgess, who was appointed by Minister Furbert.

The other members include: Randy Horton, Vincent Ingham, Michelle Cox, Isabelle Ramsey, Selena Lambert, John Jefferis, Kevin Bean, Daniel Reece, Muriel Richardson, George Terpilowski, Michael Winfield, David Dodwell and Edward Shapard.

Five members of the Board were appointed by the Bermuda Hotel Association, while a further eight were chosen by Minister Furbert.

The executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce Joanne MacPhee and president of the Bermuda Industrial Union Chris Furbert make up the membership.

The Bermuda Tourism Board will have its own act, and the legislation will be laid down in Parliament in the next session.

But it will start working from April 1, Minister Furbert said.

He added: “This Board will set to work immediately.

“Their total responsibility will become clearer once the legislation is laid before Parliament, but in the meantime they will be charged with the responsibility of the sales, marketing and promotion of Bermuda as a tourism destination.”