By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff
Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board Russel Harrigan said he is rooting for United States (US) President Donald Trump to grow the US economy because that would mean ‘great’ things for the BVI.
“I think if Trump is able to do some of the things he promised, which is a big if, from a tourism standpoint, the BVI should be fine,” Harrigan said at a lecture hosted by the H Lavity Stoutt Community college last evening, April 27.
President Trump, after his inauguration, promised to produce 25 million new American jobs as well as a whopping four percent increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year.
“If he is able to move the rate [of GDP] up to three percent – I’m going to be modest, really that’s gonna help us, because I think for the next five years he will extend the trend and that could only be a good thing for the BVI… I think, as a tourism destination, we will certainly benefit from that – without a doubt,” added Harrigan.
President Trump, up to this week, also promised big tax cuts to corporate entities and individuals in the US.
The BVI Tourist Board boss said he is also banking on the success of that promise. “If he (President Trump) is also able to reduce the taxes as he has been promising – which gives people a lot more disposable income, the level of visitors that we attract from the US – our largest market, that too will help us to a great extent.”
Americans make up roughly 60 to 65 percent of the visitors that come to the BVI yearly. They are seconded by Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European countries, Harrigan told BVI News Online.
He went on to state that: “Some of his (President Trump’s) rhetoric particularly in the area of immigration and those types of things are going to also repulse people from going to the US, and hopefully some of them decide that they want to go to other parts of the world including the Caribbean. I suspect there would be quite a few Americans going into Europe, but very few going into the US. For other parts of the world, I would suspect that too will continue to be the case.”
“Overall, I think from where I sit – leaving his other polices aside, from a tourism standpoint, if he is really able to move the economy along as he is projecting, I think that would certainly be a good thing for us… I hope it goes through,” Harrigan further said.
In the meantime, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, who is also responsible for tourism, also expressed high hopes early this year about what the Trump presidency would mean for BVI tourism.
“The North American market supplies the overwhelming majority of the tourists who visit our shores, and most of our trade is done within that market. A challenge? Surely, but also an opportunity! We know that many Americans are feeling confident about their future economic prospects under this President, and we are positioning ourselves to capitalize on that optimism through more aggressive tourism marketing, upgrading our tourism infrastructure, and addressing air access,” Premier Smith said in January.
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