HAMILTON, Bermuda, Monday, September 10, 2012 – United Bermuda Party (UBP) member of parliament Kim Swan is calling on the Bermuda Department of Tourism and the Government to defend the island against warnings in the Frommers travel guide to homosexual and disabled travellers.
The American travel guide carries two damning sections about Bermuda on its website as it warns travellers to: “think twice before planning a holiday on Bermuda. Although many gays live in and visit Bermuda, the island is rather repressive to homosexuals”; and also “Bermuda is not a great place for persons with disabilities who are not planning to stay on-site at a resort. Getting around the island is a bit difficult for the agile …. It is difficult to walk with a cane outside of St. George and City of Hamilton because most roads don’t have sidewalks or adequate curbs.”
The UBP MP said these online entries called into question “whether Bermuda is a welcoming, fair and equitable society” and called for the advisories to be “addressed forthwith” by both the Bermuda Department of Tourism in particular and the government.
“The advisory directed at Gays and Lesbian Travelers is extremely serious with far reaching repercussions for Bermuda as a welcoming destination for all people,” said Swan, who noted that it was suggesting that “Bermuda as a society has the propensity to discriminate against a certain segment of society – in this case the Gay and Lesbian community.”
Swan said these advisories could be economically harmful for Bermuda as it had implications not only for losing business from the gay and lesbian community, but also, “a gay or lesbian CEO or business owner’s company could easily be dissuaded from recommending Bermuda for a convention of predominantly non gay colleagues based on the advisory issued by Frommer’s.
“There are numerous other hypothetical situations. The use of the word repressive to describe Bermuda’s attitude is strong language for a travel guide. The definition being “inhibiting or restraining the freedom of a person or a group of people,” he said.
“We reiterate that the Bermuda Department of Tourism must immediately reach out to Frommers. Although the Frommers advisory is an immediate issue for the Bermuda Department of Tourism, it also is a matter that also impacts on all of us as a society,” concluded Swan.