The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce is forming a new division specifically tailored to the needs of Ecotourism as a direct response to the National Tourism Plan.

Joanne MacPhee, executive director for the Chamber, who also sits on the Tourism Board, said part of the new tourism plan calls for developing five hubs, one of which is Bermuda's waterways and parks.

MacPhee, who also sits on the Product and Destination Development Committee chaired by Vince Ingham, added: "We consider this a quick win because a lot of the infrastructure already exists — The reefs exist; the dive shops exist; the Railway Trails are there — We agreed that ecotourism is something we could move on very quickly."

Ms MacPhee said the Chamber could help push this forward with a new division.

Bermuda ecotourism Unparalleled: Vince Ingham, chairman of the Product and Destination subcommittee of the Tourism Board, said Bermuda could be attracting more visitors through aquatic activities. *Photo by Kageaki SmithShe said this new division could appeal to businesses dealing with aquatic activities, the riding schools, and hospitality members.

"We do have a number of smaller guest houses who are members who are good corporate citizens but doesn't really engage with the Chamber. This is the sort of initiative that would have an immediate impact on their business, which is exciting.

"The idea is to bring these individuals to meet collectively within the infrastructure within the Chamber of Commerce and then present their ideas, findings and discussion points to the Product and Destination subcommittee of the Tourism Board with the view of the Tourism Board taking their views forward to Government and effecting the change necessary to allow ecotourism to flourish in Bermuda."

She said this would be helpful because they are challenges when dealing with multiple Government departments and this will help expedite dealing with them.

Mr Ingham said the "South shore beach area, Southside and the ocean around us, present tremendous opportunities to establish new ecotourism centric business opportunities."

He said he has been having extensive conversations about the ecotourism plan and the one that he is most excited about deals with wreck diving and coral reef exploration.

"We have one of the best reef systems in the world that offers some of best diving experiences in the world. There is a tremendous opportunity in our ocean environment — there is a whole new suite of activities that enable a visitor to experience the marine environment that's second to none."

Mr Ingham added the ecotourism plan extends to Bermuda's parks, Railway Trail and forts.

He called Southside as a prime example of this and was "an untapped resource" and the Railway Trail offers great opportunities for walking and cycling but needs sprucing up.

"This can bring a whole new experience for the visitor."

Ecotourism

If you are interested in joining this new division please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 295 8932.

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