Things to come? Nine Beaches was one of the only eco-tourist resorts on the island. Bermuda could see similar  resorts in the future if we committ to a marine reserve. *File photo
Things to come? Nine Beaches was one of the only eco-tourist resorts on the island. Bermuda could see similar resorts in the future if we committ to a marine reserve. *File photo

Earlier this year, British Airways executives said that Bermuda needs to change its tourism brand and Mr Flook believes eco-tourism could be the way forward.

He believes that a marine reserve could attract a new generation of environmentally conscious visitors as the world eco-tourism market soars to $473 billion a year globally (Travel Weekly).

“We need to step up with the tourism market. It is the biggest growing tourism sector and it is growing rapidly. The Marriott Group of Companies say that ‘millenials’ are the target group for tourism, and that they are not people pretending to be green — they want to go to places that are doing it right. 

“Bermuda’s Blue Halo in the golden rainforest it’s a very marketable thing — it’s about getting them here inside the biggest marine reserve. 

“We get 6,000 to 7,000 come just to bird watch and we don’t even advertise. If each visitor spends $1,500 per trip which is easy in Bermuda, that’s over $10m.

“We have always been seen as tax haven — how about a marine haven? We have spoken to Google Earth and if we get 50nm to 200nm designated (Pew’s recommendation that didn’t make it to the final consultation) it ends up being the third largest marine reserve on the planet and they would be interested in putting this ring around Bermuda so when you look at the Google map, their eyes are already taken to us.” 

Mr Ward has his reservations. “Everyone on tourism says we have structural problems like excessive airfares and not very good product. Tourism and hoteliers really need to be part of this discussion.

“I would argue that in terms of marketing Bermuda, for years we said it should declare itself as a coral reef reserve. We don’t tell anyone that but we have been since 1978. Many divers look for marine parks we could make it a marine park. Why haven’t we done already... this it has been pointed out over the years it costs nothing. 

“As for scientific research, I really do think that government dropped the ball big time. 

“If Bermuda is to be the source for marine research and enforcement of the high seas Sargasso Sea that is a benefit that Bermuda should have identified by now.” 



Marine reserve: Q&A


Does a reserve amount to ‘commercial suicide’?

What if opportunity knocks?

Why don’t we just use current legislation to fine illegal fishing operations?

Could a marine reserve attract an influx of eco-tourists and marine scientists?

What are the marine reserve choices?

Do marine reserves help the environment?
How can we enforce such a huge area?