Hospitality and Tourism sector track record doesn’t reflect the PLP rhetoric says Dwayne Robinson OBA

Is this PLP Government committed to the growth of the Hospitality and Tourism sector of our economy. So far, their track record has not reflected their rhetoric.
Failing to get the Fairmont Southampton open despite grandstanding and a press conference announcing the completion of the Special Development Order (SDO), the SDO remains ungazetted with the Government refusing to update either chamber of the legislature or the public on its progress.
It is still unclear as to why the 2009 SDO could not have been enough to get the hotel reopened. Why couldn’t building begin and then if needed, the SDO expanded in the future?
Implementing the Vacation Rental (Application and Registration) Fees Act 2023, which placed an additional tax on the Vacation rental industry, has been detrimental as property owners were already paying land lax plus a fee to the Bermuda Tourism Authority.
The Bermuda Rental Association of Vacation Home rentals claims that 300 members took their properties off the rental market when the Vacation Rental Fees were introduced. I wonder how many more have done the same? This further reduces our bed capacity on island, on top of the closure of the Fairmont Southampton.
In 2024, the BTA’s grant was reduced by $2.46M 2023 to $16.54M, the lowest amount in recent history. While revenues from visitor fees supplement the Government grant, they have not increased enough over time to compensate for reduction in funding due to capacity constraints.
Tourism needs rebuilding and we are forcing our flagship entity to operate with less and less year over year, yet expecting an increase in results. However, we see the Finance Minister increase the government guarantee of the Bermuda Gaming Commission to $10M despite there being no gaming industry to regulate.
The PLP Government must govern and negotiate better on behalf of Bermudians. It needs to be transparent regarding the delay with the reopening of Fairmont Southampton.
Reverse the 4.5% Vacation Rental Fee it has levied on vacation rentals. If the Government wants to address the housing issues, it would be better served reviewing the Landlord and Tenant Act 1974, and update it, making landlords confident in renting out their properties again, while protecting the renters’ rights, instead of taxing them out of options.

This Government must also decide whether gaming is a missed boat and whether it is time to reallocate those resources into other initiatives that benefit the people of Bermuda.

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