Taxpayers paid $60,000 to produce a glossy eight-page supplement in a Middle Eastern newspaper promoting Bermuda as a “top tier” business jurisdiction. The pull-out, titled Bermuda: an investment paradise , appeared in an edition of the Gulf News daily newspaper ahead of the COP28 climate conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last December. David Burt, the Premier, and Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier , attended the two-week long meeting of global leaders. The price tag for the booklet was released on the Government’s website under Public Access to Information regulations which stipulate that contracts valued in excess of $50,000 must be made public. According to a government spokesman, the cost covered content creation, print and digital promotion, and distribution. The cost for the publication is allocated for under the Department of Economy Development’s budget. The eight-page booklet was produced by Global FDI Reports, which has offices in the UAE and Spain. The spokesman said the island already had a solid reputation as a “trusted global investment and trade jurisdiction” in the region, adding: “So this was considered an ideal platform to increase awareness about Bermuda, and the region’s feedback has been positive. “In addition to highlighting the existing investment opportunities for regional and international investors, the special Bermuda report also showcased the island’s cultural and tourism offerings.” According to the spokesman, the English language Gulf News has a daily circulation of around 80,000 and its website receives 200 million views per month. The spokesman said: “The print version was included as a Gulf News newspaper insert, ensuring high visibility and exposure to an exclusive audience. “ is the digital platform of Gulf News and is the most widely read business site in the Middle East. Monthly desktop views of total 45 million, while mobile views of total 155 million views per month.” However, according to one website tracking service , the Gulf News website attracted 8.5 million visits in November. Defending the publication of the booklet, the spokesman said: “It’s not unusual for international promotional materials, supplements, publications, and collateral information to be produced to highlight the benefits of a jurisdiction’s key initiatives, successes, or activities. “Bermuda has previously been featured in The Financial Times , The Economist , and other highly visible industry-related publications.” The booklet features interviews with Mr Burt and Mr Roban, along with Jason Hayward, the Minister for the Economy and Labour, and Erica Smith, the director of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. In an article headlined “A paradise for business”, Mr Burt is lauded for his “dynamic leadership”, while Bermuda’s reputation “underpins a grand vision for the island’s reputation”. The article refers to “impressive progress made in education”, which, it says is “emblematic of a change agenda right across the policy spectrum”. “On the strength of its business-friendly environment, skilled workforce, and robust regulatory ecosystem, Bermuda stands as a prime investment destination,” the article declares. Mr Burt is quoted as saying: “Like many Gulf countries, Bermuda is a small nation achieving significant feats on a global scale. “We recognise the historic business ties between Bermuda and the Gulf region and are eager to ensure they continue to flourish and evolve.” According to a fact file accompanying the article Bermuda has a GDP per capita of $118,845, the “fourth highest in the world”, while 100 per cent of the population lives in urban areas. Another article claims that the Government’s “progressive policy agenda” is presenting “a host of compelling opportunities for investment”. The article states that Bermuda recorded its “highest-ever visitor arrivals in 2019” and the tourism sector “continues its rebound from the effects of the pandemic”. Another article headlined “Bermuda’s transport leap” praises the new LF Wade International Airport — a project overseen by the former OBA government which has since been repeatedly criticised by the current administration. The report states: “A high-profile programme of investment in recent years has opened up fresh opportunities for air travel too. “The $267 million Skyport redevelopment project — the first of its scale since the 1940s — was funded by an innovative public private partnership arrangement and has resulted in the creation of a new terminal that offers travellers truly world-class facilities.” The final article in the brochure, headlined “The ultimate island retreat”, refers to Bermuda’s “small-town vibe and quiet highways”. It adds that “new air routes” that are making the island more accessible from cities such as Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi. It states: “Bermuda has always been a magnate for high net-worth travellers from all over the world. In recent years, increasing numbers of discerning visitors from the Middle East have found themselves drawn to the island in search of the luxurious and indulgent experiences that can be found at the exclusive waterfront hotels and private beach properties in this perfectly formed paradise. “Investors are also discovering exciting investment opportunities in Bermuda’s vibrant tourism sector — across the island’s hotel real-estate and tourism-related services — many of which benefit from generous government incentives — including sought-after residency rights.”

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