In his latest opinion piece, PLP shadow minister for tourism Jamahl Simmons laments the lack of progress and the lack of job creation by the OBA in Bermuda tourism. He spends 4/5s of it highlighting whose numbers were bigger and then proclaims “Yet this isn’t about whose numbers were bigger.” He suggests the bigger aim is a new approach that results in jobs for Bermudians, but what is that approach?
Mr. Simmons encourages us to see what the PLP has planned for tourism
We encourage you to examine our vision, an economic vision for a Bermuda that at its core is about jobs, opportunity, inclusion and building a Bermuda that works for Bermudians. Weigh it against the performance of the OBA and join us in making Bermuda work for you.
Fair enough, I thought I’d take a look as I’m keen to know what his vision is. So I went to the vision2025.plp.bm site and clicked on tourism. I was very surprised because it was short enough I can just copy the entire piece here:
Vision 2025 requires us to commit to developing a vibrant tourism industry for our country, and it requires the necessary investment to support that effort. Tourism is a global industry and we must compete globally. That means that we must invest in our product, invest in our marketing, invest in our people, and understand the basis of tourism.Tourism Is About experiences, tourism is about escape, tourism is about letting go, and most of all, tourism is about fun. In order to compete in tourism we need to remember that if people don’t get it in Bermuda, they will go somewhere else to get it. The next PLP government will make changes to our laws to keep Bermuda competitive with other tourism destinations. If we as a people put the passion and investment into rebuilding our tourism industry we can succeed. Our future success must be based on the realisation that our beaches alone are not enough to attract visitors to our shores; we must offer a compelling product and that requires investment from both the public and private sector.
To be honest, it is disappointing because I expected more given how much effort Mr. Simmons has dedicated to pointing out the OBA’s failed numbers. The bulk of the above can be whittled down to (and I’m of course paraphrasing) “we’ll invest more and change some laws”. That’s about as concrete as it gets. So I figured I’d take a look at the budget reply and am rather surprised that the statement there is even shorter and says the same thing. Increasing spending isn’t the compelling plan I’m looking for. Where is the actual concrete vision and plan? What would the PLP do differently that amounts to real actionable goals rather than simply platitudes?