Bermuda tourism authority CEO defends its tourism industry in the wake of outrage over bill

Published on : Thursday, December 21, 2017

download (24)The CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority defended the island territory’s tourism industry in the face of a growing outrage over a bill that would withdraw marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“Bermuda has a well-earned reputation as a warm, friendly and welcoming destination,” said Kevin Dallas in a statement the Bermuda Tourism Authority. He added, “Out here we believe in the transformative power of travel and the cultural exchanges it inspires between visitors to a destination and the people who live there. We hope all travelers to Bermuda, including LGBT visitors, will continue to believe in and experience this important exchange.”

Earlier this month, the Bermuda House of Representatives approved the Domestic Partnership Bill, which would allow same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married. The measure passed in the Bermuda Senate on Dec. 13 by an 8-3 vote margin.

Tourism accounts for nearly a third of Bermuda’s gross domestic product. The Bermuda Tourism Authority said that around 643,000 people visited Bermuda in 2016. Statistics also indicate that 86 percent of visitors who arrived by cruise ship and 75 percent of visitors who arrived by air were from the U.S. The Bermuda Tourism Authority “promotes Bermuda globally as a world-class destination for leisure and group travel and tourism investment” and in a letter sent to senators, it urged them to oppose the bill.

“We are convinced it will result in lost tourism business for Bermuda,” said the Bermuda Tourism Authority in its letter. Advocates in Bermuda and around the world have urged Gov. John Rankin to refuse to sign the bill. Bermuda would become the first government in the world outside the U.S. to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples if Rankin signs the bill.

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