Disney Cruise Line has applauded the BVI Tourist Board for improving the territory’s visitor arrival experience, which they said was initially unpleasant in the British Virgin Islands.
Disney said the experience was particularly bad at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island.
Russell Daya, the Executive Director of Marine and Port Operations for Disney Fantasy, said local Customs and Immigration Officers were cold and inhospitable.
“My first experience coming in on a plane to Tortola was miserable … It’s not meant to be a great experience but imagine [when you] make it a pleasant and polite interaction — what’s that first guest going to say? ‘Wow, that was great experience coming through Customs and Immigration’. It doesn’t detract from their main mission, which is to protect your borders and to make sure that everybody is legally documented. But they could do it in such a great way, which I believe has now filtered down,” said Daya, adding that he occasionally makes secret visits to the territory to assess visitor experience.
“When I do sneak in … I normally sneak in and sneak out without anybody knowing. I have been dealt with in a much better way — polite, respectful, firm. The mission was achieved and I felt so much better.”
Daya further acknowledged Tourism Director Sharon Flax Brutus for working to improve the arrival experience for tourists visiting the territory.
“Hats off to Sharon and her team,” he said.
Daya was speaking at a recent conference at The Moorings on Tortola. The conference was with representatives from the Florida-Caribean Cruise Association (FCCA) as well as local tourism stakeholders.
Disney Cruise Line is an FCCA member and is one of the major cruise lines to service the BVI.
Disney is yet to resume service to the BVI since last year’s hurricanes but said they are encouraged by the territory’s recovery efforts, so far.
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