New $250 Fees for Yacht Passengers docking in Bermuda
Yachting enthusiasts taking Bermuda holidays are facing a $250 charge per person onboard each vessel after the Bermuda government introduced the new fees whilst extending the period of docking from 21 days to up to three months.
Yacht passengers taking Bermuda holidays for longer than three weeks must now pay $250 per person onboard each vessel after the Bermuda government introduced the new fees to “create and generate revenue and also economic activity.”
According to Bermuda Premier, Paula Cox, the increased fees have been implemented to use the ocean to generate more income to the tourism industry, local businesses, Bermuda hotels, and the island’s overall economy. Yachts can now dock for up to three months, compared to the previous 21-day restriction, but every crew member and passenger must pay the $250 charge if they wish to “come here and tarry a while”.
Opposition MPs are concerned that despite the good news on the extension of the docking period, the new charges will deter travellers from taking holidays to Bermuda, particularly if the yachts have several people onboard.
Shadow Finance Minister, Bob Richards, said: “We should be encouraging our visitors to stay. We need to not just say that we want to do that; we need to encourage them in real ways.”
Richards said that the message could be misconstrued by visitors arriving to their Bermuda holidays by making them feel that the Caribbean island was showing them kindness by allowing them to dock in Bermuda.
“It’s likely to turn off the people that we are basically trying to encourage to stay here. It’s one of the things that we must change if we are to revitalize all of our industries in Bermuda,” he added.
Kim Swan, the United Bermuda Party Leader believes that instead of the $250 fee, there should be a “symbolic” one dollar tariff to entice travellers to take holidays in Bermuda.
“We are not a country that’s overflowing with visitors,” he commented. “The acid test for this situation should be: will it result in far more visitors than we are experiencing now? Taxes and fees stifle sometimes. This is what we are getting at. You can get more visitors with a lesser fee.”
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Shadow Tourism Minister, added that when St Martin introduced its new docking fees, the number of yacht visitors taking Caribbean holidays suffered a “rapid and devastating decline”.
Paula Cox brought the ongoing debate to a temporary conclusion by stating that it was important for the government to get the balance right and the new charges could be reviewed regularly.
“Nothing is carved in stone. At this point in time, this is where the fee sits,” she added.
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