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Bermuda Premier Defends Globalhue on His Facebook Page

Bermuda politicians are continuing to hammer the questionable selection of Globalhue as the island's ad agency for tourism -- and the premier of the tiny nation has used his Facebook page (!) to defend the choice.

Globalhue won the two-year, $28 million business without a review. The contract was awarded without competitive bidding even though Bermuda's auditor general found that the agency had overbilled the account by $1.8 million. In a complete coincidence, the Bermuda premier and Globalhue owner Don Coleman (pictured) are longtime friends. According to the Bermuda Royal Gazette, premier Ewart Brown wrote on Facebook:

I believe that unless there are strong reasons to discontinue an agency's work, at least 4-5 years are needed to determine fairly the impact of an ad agency.
There was an internal review of the performance and adjustments were made.
Opposition senator Michael Dunkley told the Gazette:
In the absence of openness, suspicions grow about what is going on, particularly given reports of the Premier's friendship with the owner of GlobalHue.
It raises a big question about motives and casts doubt on whether serving the public interest is Government's primary concern.
The debate is partly about whether Globahue's ads are actually working or not. The government said tourism was up until 2008:
663,767 visitors came to Bermuda in 2007, making it the third consecutive year of visitor increases in both cruise and air arrivals. ... numbers fell off in 2008 "mainly as a result of the global economic downturn"
But Dunkley isn't buying that:
First ... in 2008 visitor arrival numbers fell catastrophically -- on the Brown-Global Hue watch.

Second, Bermuda's tourism marketing aims to attract air visitors and in 2007 their numbers were well below the numbers from 1991 to 2000.

The 2007 result was driven by an unprecedented reliance on cruise visitors, who outnumbered air visitors for the first time since the start of mass tourism in the 1960s.

The distinction between cruise and air visitors is important to keep in mind if one wants a realistic understanding of how we are doing in the tourism business. Hotel visitors to Bermuda spend roughly eight times more than cruise visitors.

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