Statement by the Hon. Wayne Furbert, Shadow Minister of Tourism on Q1 Tourism Arrival Statistics

2013's Q1 Tourism Arrival Statistics while disappointing, should come as no surprise to those who understand the structural, competitive and economic challenges facing our tourism product.

With this understanding, the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party refuses to embrace the malicious and destructive tactics that have historically shaped the Tourism debate. Instead, we will work with the government to restore Bermuda's tourism industry as a job creator, money maker and a legitimate source of advancement opportunities for Bermudians.

Despite these numbers, there are signs that the National Tourism Plan started under the PLP is having some positive results. We encourage the OBA to follow through with the plan as we believe that its successful execution is key to turning things around.

We are curious however about the apparent lack of progress made by the Tourism Authority.  With the professionals in place and an often repeated desire by the OBA to run tourism like a business, it was expected that by now the Minister would be playing a less prominent role and that the TA would be driving the Tourism Plan. The Tourism Board has complete control of Marketing and promoting Bermuda yet we have heard virtually nothing from them on how they intend to take Bermuda forward.