A research paper by two Bermuda College staff members on public attitudes to the 35th America’s Cup looks set for international recognition.

Institutional researcher Cordell Riley and senior lecturer Shawn De Shields interviewed 650 island residents for their views on the economic and social impacts that next summer’s yachting event will have on Bermuda, where it will be hosted. The duo then presented their findings at the third International Conference on Emerging Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences, held in November at Middlesex University in Dubai.

The survey found that 77 per cent of respondents believed that Bermuda would benefit economically “to a great extent or somewhat” from hosting AC35, while 73 per cent thought the event would go “a long way to restoring Bermuda’s image as a premium tourism destination”.

The study also found that 58 per cent of respondents believed that the $77 million committed to the international event should have been spent on more pressing issues.

This month, Mr Riley and Mr De Shields discovered that their paper was selected as one of the standout entries at the conference, which saw 300-plus academics submitting their work.

It is now being considered for a special issue of the Global Business and Economics Review, due to be published this autumn.

Mr Riley said that he felt it was an “honour” to have the paper selected for consideration, both for himself and Mr De Shields, as well as for Bermuda College.

He added: “We knew that there would be a level of interest in our paper, because of the impacts of a mega event on a small nation.

“While up until now only the economic impacts of hosting the America’s Cup were taken into consideration, we delved into the social impacts as well.

“Consultation and communication with residents would assist in making the event a success. More needs to be done in this area.”

Mr Riley said that, regarding AC35’s economic impact, “it would have been better to have underpromised and overdelivered”, adding that additional hotel revenues were more likely to total $3 million rather than the $5.5 million projected by local event organiser the ACBDA.

He said: “We just hope that the outcome of San Francisco (which hosted the most recent America’s Cup in 2013), where the realities fell way short of economic expectations, is not our experience.”

This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on March 22, 2016.

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