BTA CHAIRMAN WAYNE CAINES, JP MP
“The board of the Bermuda Tourism Authority is committed to restarting the tourism economy through our strategic tourism recovery plan. Finalizing a timeline to reopen Bermuda’smarquee resort, the Fairmont Southampton is a crucial next step to achieve that aim.
After two years of pandemic-fuelled losses, Bermuda is being readied for a tourism renaissance. The reopening of the Fairmont Southampton will be a major boon to the sector delivering a multitude of benefits to Bermuda’s economy.
In the first instance the planned redevelopment phase will create job opportunities in construction and infuse cash spending into businesses beyond those categorized as traditional hospitality.
However, the rebirth of the island’s most broad-reaching economic pillar is being seen through the introduction of new properties such as the super luxe St Regis, the completion of The Bermudiana Resort set to come online next year, and ongoing construction projects at the Azura Resort’s sister property, Nautilus.
Recent acquisitions of the Ariel Sands property, and Cambridge Beaches by Dovetail + Co as well as continued investment by the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club into their product with a recently completed marina and upgrades to their ballrooms. This coupled with significant interest in the iconic Elbow Beach property highlight the forward trajectory of the sector. Bermuda is diversifying our hotel inventory and preparing for a prosperous future.
The island is at a critical juncture for the tourism economy, and the conversations between the Bermuda Government and hotel investors are a crucial component to the elevation of our overall product.
BTA CEO CHARLES H. JEFFERS II
“The reopening of the Fairmont Southampton will play a critical role in accelerating our tourism recovery efforts. The hard truth is that we have never seen our available hotel room capacity dip below 2,000 in recent tourism history.
While we have seen an incremental increase in hotel beds in 2021, at 1.8k available rooms, the island is at 43% of 1990 volumes. Though the island’s inventory of vacation rentals has increased over the past few decades, the volume has not made up for the loss in available hotel rooms and those visitors tend to skew towards leisure and not group travel.
This hinders our ability to build demand for group and leisure business. It limits vital on-island spending, which would contribute to the revenues of our taxis,vehicle rental companies, tour operators, entertainers, restaurants, and other businesses directly or indirectly connected to tourism in Bermuda.
The inclusion of Fairmont Southampton’s 593 rooms and conference facilities opens the island up to more group business, stimulates investment opportunities, and supports demand in other local hotel properties.
Moreover, without a timeline on the Fairmont’s reopening, we are challenged to plan for group business sales and increased airlift, which underpins so many elements of our tourism growth strategy. It is important to note that while our focus on infrastructure, inventory and airline capacity is at a key stage, our team is now engaging in training and development initiatives to prepare the Bermudian workforce for the expected spike in visitor arrivals over the next several years through the collaboration between public and private sector partners.
We encourage anyone looking to be a part of what promises to be a dynamic tourism future to register with the Department of Workforce Development for jobs and opportunities in the industry.”
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