Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown *File photo
Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown *File photo

A move to privatize the selling of Bermuda tourism has been tried before.

Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown, who was also Tourism Minister, outsourced parts of the north American and UK tourism offices to a US firm called Sales Focus.

Up to 12 sales jobs went after the change, which took place in 2008.

But it was announced only a few months later that the then-PLP Government’s contract with Sales Focus would not be renewed when it expired in September, 2009.

Dr Brown later admitted that he picked “the wrong team” – but said that modernisation of the way Bermuda sold itself overseas was vital.

The US agency was hired to target group visitors and business conferences – but a slump in that market led to the firm being dumped and it was not replaced.

Dr Brown told the Bermuda Sun at the time: “We needed to make changes in the New York office and any period of reorganization will cause some upset.

“We are in a period of transition and we are seeing encouraging signs that out of that transition will come a truly exciting period of tourism.”

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell announced earlier this week that the Department of Tourism is to be dismantled.

Existing staff will be able to apply for jobs with the new Tourism Authority, although there are no guarantees of job offers, or opt to be deployed elsewhere in the Civil Service, meaning no jobs will be lost. n