Chris’t’ian Swan. *Photo supplied
Chris’t’ian Swan. *Photo supplied

In 1997, I joined leisure, tourism and travel because I wanted to be a part of an ever-changing ‘people’ industry that focuses on those who visit our shores.

The Minister of Tourism, Shawn Crockwell, has announced a bold move that the OBA will go ahead with its election platform and replace the Ministry of Tourism with a Tourism Authority, operating privately, outside of Government.  

I applaud the decision. It is a good idea to place industry partners at the forefront to oversee such an important market. Such decisions will allow those who have background experience and knowledge to step forward, speak out and position Bermuda in the right direction.

We must compete to win visitors to our shores, therefore we must change our stance. If we remain with the same mindset, we’ll continue with the same routine and the end result will be the same. Instead of falling back, let’s prepare and position ourselves to move forward.

To move forward doesn’t necessarily mean starting with a clear agenda, it means reviewing and leaving behind what didn’t work and carrying forward the best of the things that do work. If there is one thing that we must realize, it is that the visitor market is large and if our competitors do their job and we do ours, everyone will win.

It is great to see David Dodwell taking the task to lead the new Tourism Authority as the Chairman Designate. His impressive resume gives us hope that we will see change.

In the Ministry of Tourism there are quite a few talented people who do an outstanding job and I wish them well in securing a position with the new Tourism Authority.

The persons who apply for the upcoming positions should not only have knowledge and experience, but a passion for the industry, too.

Rebuilding our industry will take time and the Tourism Authority will need to review current policies and procedures. Hospitality starts at home and all industry partners and residents play a part in rebuilding our product because it involves all of us. 

A lot of us have ideas to help move us forward and I know some ideas can be out of this world while others can actually suit Bermuda. Let’s watch as the Tourism Authority takes shape and for those in doubt, the only way onward is upward; it can only get better from here. 

Together with the right people and the right stance our product should be one everyone can be proud of.

I’m excited and ready to welcome new and returning visitors to our shores.