Addressing “a diverse gathering” of 300 attendees at the 2019 Bermuda Tourism Summit this week, Tourism Minister Zane DeSilva savoured the prospects of the legislation facilitating superyachts in Bermuda, that goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
Speaking at the Fairmont Southampton on Tuesday, said he was delighted “to see such a diverse gathering of stakeholders—from industry, Government and entrepreneurial ventures—coming together to brainstorm’.
“You are the key to the future of Bermuda’s tourism industry. Your energy, ideas and vision will help us forge the way forward in sustainable, inclusive, progressive ways that bene)t Bermuda and Bermudians.”
As a “key partner” with the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA), he said: “The Government is an essential piece of that puzzle, as are all of you, and each of us has a critical role to play.
“We take that responsibility very seriously.”
To “help Bermuda advance the goals of the National Tourism Plan”, he noted what he termed the “ground-breaking work the Government carried out this summer to pave the way for a new sector that promises significant economic benefits to our island”.
“A warning: I’m going to say the “S-word”! Superyachts…
“The economic contribution of this industry — through onshore spending and job creation — are clear,” said the Minister.
“Importantly, it’s also a sector that ties in neatly with one of four target audiences identified by the BTA as representing the biggest potential for Bermuda’s tourism growth. The Tourism Plan calls them ‘Jetsetters’.
The Superyachts and Other Vessels Act passed in the House of Assembly, goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
“Among other provisions, it will allow boats 24 metres or larger to acquire transit, cruising and charter permits depending on their length of stay.
“It also waives duty for Bermuda resident owners of these-sized yachts if they want to bring them here for less than six months. It’s worth noting that part of the legislation also delivers tax relief to our local commercial boat operators.
“It really underscores the way Government can add practical value to a strategic plan. The legal framework that’s been created is forward-looking and allows us to start competing as a bona-fide cruising and chartering destination.
“I took the opportunity to promote Bermuda in this sphere by speaking to superyacht owners, captains and brokers at the recent Monaco Yacht Show.
“Again, it was “Team Bermuda” in action, with Government, private industry, and public-private agencies working side-by-side to achieve a national win — and we look forward to seeing Bermuda reap the benefits,” he added.
The upcoming PGA Tour at the Port Royal Golf Course was also listed as “another example of the Government’s commitment to tourism priorities”.
“Being able to leverage this top-rated public course as the staging ground for a championship that will capture the world’s attention is something we’re very proud of.
“Hosting this Historic tournament here in Bermuda also gives four of our Bermudian golfers the opportunity of a lifetime. We have a Bermudian only Qualifier this week, which will see 18 Bermudians – 13 pros and five (5) amateurs compete for three
spots. Dwayne Pearman, our long time ambassador, and a past champion in just about every golf tournament held here in Bermuda will get an automatic spot,” he said.
“Today’s Summit also represents a robust example of the synergy I’m talking about — bringing together the combined energy and talents of the Government, of small and large businesses, of public-private agencies, of individuals and global thought-
leaders, across demographics, for the good of Bermuda tourism.
“Our economy is expanding and our Government encourages you to explore new opportunities created by some of this collaborative innovation.
“With that said, I wish you an inspiring and productive conference—and I look forward to working with all of you to take our tourism industry to new heights.”