Just swimmingly: Larry Lamb, of the Pompano Beach Club, believes things are starting to look up for Bermuda's tourism sector
The Royal Gazette
Article published December 24, 2009
Tourism showing first signs of recovery, says Pompano Club's Lamb
By Alex Wright
Bermuda's tourism and hospitality industry is starting to show the first signs of recovery following the economic downturn and there is reason to be optimistic for the future.
That is the view of Larry Lamb, owner and operator of the Pompano Beach Club, who was awarded the Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA) Prestigious Hotelier of the Year Award along with his brother Tom at the annual BHA Christmas Celebrations event this week.
Mr. Lamb admitted that business had been slow during the past year in a tough economy, but he believes the construction of more resorts on the Island will help to boost the sector. "It was a slow and a challenging year, he said. But it was not as bad as it could have been and there are some indicators that next year is going to be a little bit better."
Mr. Lamb said one of the biggest issues Pompano faced was the 18-month closure of Port Royal Golf Course for its $14 million upgrade and the resulting drop off in golf bookings, however, he added that the course had done a good job and more guests returning in the Spring as a result. He said the financial turmoil had lasted a shorter time than many expected and that hoteliers and resort managers were hopeful of seeing some measured improvement. "I am always optimistic of Bermuda's tourism sector, he said, I don't think there was anything we could have done to change the course of the economics. But I think we are on the right track if we can just get the economy going again. I really think we want and need more resorts, because, to use an analogy, it is like going to Disneyworld with half of the rides closed."
Mr. Lamb cited a lack of choice of places for tourists to stay at as one of the main problems affecting the industry at the moment, but said that once the investment started rolling back in it was time to put words into action and start work on some new developments, following in the tracks of the likes of Tucker's Point Club, which launched its hotel and spa in April - the first to open its doors in Bermuda for one year.
John Harvey, CEO of the BHA, who announced the award to the Lamb brothers, which was presented by Premier Ewart Brown to Elliott and Alison Lamb, who received it on behalf of their father and uncle, said: "The Lamb family have owned and operated Pompano Beach Club since the early 1950s and have done a tremendous job in developing one of Bermuda's hotel gems. Tom, who works out of their New England office, and Larry, who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the hotel, are both dedicated and professional hoteliers, who make every effort to ensure that their guests' experience at Pompano is not only enjoyable, but memorable. This is indicative of their significant repeat guests, who return year after year to Pompano."
The Association also announced that the BHA Corporate Citizen Award 2009 was awarded to Butterfield Bank, with Dr. Brown handing the award to Robert Wilson, executive vice-president of Butterfield Bank. "The Award is given to a company, person or organisation that has assisted and played an integral role in the continued development and success of the hotel industry in Bermuda," added Mr. Harvey.