Much more? Bermuda needs to do more than promises of flamingo-pink mopeds, according to columnist Bryant Trew, who argues the island need to start providing real value for money. *Bermuda Department of Tourism photo
Much more? Bermuda needs to do more than promises of flamingo-pink mopeds, according to columnist Bryant Trew, who argues the island need to start providing real value for money. *Bermuda Department of Tourism photo

Have you ever seen a tourist riding around our fair island on a flamingo-pink Vespa?  Me neither.

So why does the Department of Tourism advertise a couple riding one...while wearing flamingo-pink crash helmets...without using helmet straps (which is illegal)?

CNN’s website recently reported that Bermuda ranked 8th on TripAdvisor’s “10 most affordable Carribbean hot spots”.

TripAdvisor also produced a top “10 most expensive” index, and it is here where things get very scary.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the cost of airfare that propelled Bermuda’s high cost. When you look at the two indexes in detail, you’ll find that of the 20 destinations combined, Bermuda is respectively the seventh and second most expensive destination in average cost of accommodations and meals. Ah, Bermuda… So much more… no, really much more!

Perhaps of more critical importance, these indexes rank destinations by average price, and not standard of experience.  

I, therefore, figured it would be interesting to compare Bermuda’s vacation offerings to the Bahamas (which is significantly less expensive). 

Have you ever looked at Atlantis, Paradise Island?  Take a look at their website to see for yourself exactly how far behind the other islands we are.  

There’s no comparison, and we aren’t even remotely compensating for it.

Yes, Bermuda is a very lovely place, but when you consider the superlative options the competition has to offer, it becomes painfully obvious why tourists are going elsewhere.  

You’d think that after hotel after hotel closing during the past 20 years, we would get the point.

You’d think that after seeing more hotels go into receivership, we’d figure it out.  The writing would be on Sonesta Beach Hotel’s wall if there actually was a wall to write on.

The long list of closed and distressed hotel properties reads something like an obituary.  

It is proof that we aren’t entitled to a roof over our heads, food on our plates or clothes on our backs. We aren’t even entitled to clean air, thriving waters or good health.  

If you allow your air to be polluted, your waters to be overfished, or if you choose to eat/drink yourself into obesity, you throw away valuable benefits that are so easily taken for granted. 

Likewise, as long as we have outdated hotels, average restaurants and poor service (especially when overpriced), we will continue to lose business.  

The key point to be understood is that we need to work for, and protect, the things we need and want.

Now more than ever, we need to appreciate how fortunate we still are and do what needs to be done to build upon what remains of our fragile tourism industry.

As a start, Bermuda really needs to be honest about how labour disputes and politics are toxically mingled.  For that we need look no further than the BIU leader’s 2012 early post-election statement:

“On behalf of the BIU membership, I would like to congratulate Mr Craig Cannonier, the new Premier and leader of the country, and the OBA for winning the recently concluded general election. 

Allow me to say also, of course the BIU is extremely disappointed the PLP was not able to retain the government.

“While I understand the OBA is the new government, I honestly think they didn’t win the government, the people in this country who didn’t vote gave the government to the OBA. That’s my opinion.” 

While it’s great to see the OBA and the BIU singing Kumbaya last week, I truly hope that both parties still agree to a 21-Day Strike Notice for transport workers. 

The intended move was not removing workers’ right to strike, and upon reading the ILO definition of Essential Services, I cannot comprehend claims of union busting.  

The proposed change is very much in the best interests of transport workers, for the simple fact that improvised disruption to services ruins vacations, which makes hotels less profitable, which causes investors to go elsewhere. Consequently, Bermuda has less money to fund salaries, overtime and repair/maintenance of our ferries and buses.

Ensuring that our tourists have a great vacation ultimately means that more jobs are created, fewer people are out of work and there are more options for us all to pay for that roof, food and clothing we need and want. 

We’ve seen that tourists won’t continue to pay more to get less, and we know they don’t care about Bermuda’s politics. 

For our own survival, we need to start giving them much more, because the difference between us and the Bahamas cannot be made up with flamingo-pink Vespas that actually don’t exist. 

bryanttrew@mac.com