Opinion: Bermudian Tim Terceira, general manager of the Ritz Carlton in Toronto. *Photo supplied
Opinion: Bermudian Tim Terceira, general manager of the Ritz Carlton in Toronto. *Photo supplied

Bermuda should take a gamble on casinos, an island-born top hotelier overseas said yesterday.

Tim Terceira, general manager of the stunning Ritz Carlton hotel in Toronto, backed gaming as a money-spinner for the island’s ailing tourism industry.

He said: “If you create an entertainment resort that would spark interest in Bermuda, then Bermudians should open their eyes to that as a possibility.”

But he stressed that a casino should only be seen as one component of an entire package — featuring a top-class hotel with shows, good service, shopping and restaurants to match.

Mr Terceira said: “If you just focus on a casino, people will find many reasons why it’s not a good idea, whereas, as part of an entertainment resort, they might find many reasons why it might be a good idea.”

Mr Terceira, who has run the five diamond, triple A Ritz Carlton in Canada’s biggest city since it opened its doors to guests more than two years ago, was speaking just weeks before a bill to hold a referendum on allowing casinos in Bermuda goes to Parliament.

He said that most hotels with casinos devoted anywhere between one third of its floor space to as little as 10 per cent to gaming — with the rest of the resort a major component in attracting guests.

But he added that Bermuda would have to carry out careful research before committing to a casino plan — and decide what kind of image the island wanted to project.

Mr Terceira said: “Bermuda would have control from a Government perspective and certainly from a Bermudian perspective, who they selected and the style of the entertainment resort.

He added: “There are different avenues and one would argue Las Vegas is different from Atlantic City and Monte Carlo is different.

“I think intuitively Bermuda would feel more comfortable with more European style — a bit more understated. That would probably appeal to Bermudians. Whatever is chosen, it shouldn’t hurt the brand of Bermuda.

And he said: “I don’t think guests would want to have the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.”

Mr Terceira, the son of former UBP Cabinet Minister Clarence Terceira, added the Ritz Carlton group was a top five-rated world leader in luxury, while his own $300 million hotel had recently notched up a place in the top 100 hotels worldwide and the hotel spa was rated world number one in the prestigious Travel & Leisure magazine’s 2013 survey.

And Mr Terceira added that Bermuda also needed to marry a top-notch product with staff to match to create an experience guests would not forget.

He said: “The product itself, the quality of the product that guests experience is important. There has to be a certain level for guests to feel they’re in the right place.

“Some hotels in Bermuda are in better condition than others and some will very soon be in a very good place. The Fairmont Hamilton will benefit from the Green family investment of a significant amount of money and the product will become very, very good.

“But while product is important, it’s not the only part — the other component is people and the quality of engagement we have here with guests is important.” n