BVI News

BVI ‘losing lots of revenue’ with Dolphin Discovery still away

Junior Tourism Minister Shereen Flax-Charles said the British Virgin Islands are “losing lots of revenue” because Dolphin Discovery has not resumed operations in the territory.

“Every time a cruise ship docks at our pier we normally have four to five hundred persons visiting Dolphin Discovery. With them (Dolphin Discovery) not being here persons who come off the cruise ship, the taxis, tours all of those things add up,” the first-term legislator explained.

She said the loss of the tourist attraction also affected the employment levels in the territory.

She said getting Dolphin Discovery back would help with the VIP government achieving their goal of producing ‘1,000 jobs in 1,000 days’.

While speaking in the now-concluded budget debate in the House of Assembly last month, Flax-Charles said government is now having talks with the company to facilitate their return.

“We are just awaiting a proposal from them so that we can get that sorted and welcome them back to the British Virgin Islands … with open arms. We are losing lots of revenue because they are not here.”

The junior minister also said the attraction’s return would help to reduce the number of persons flocking to beaches like Cane Garden Bay.

While Flax-Charles was unable to provide a timeframe for their return, she told BVI News that the establishment is likely to remain at Prospect Reef.

I would welcome it

Opposition member and Representative of the Third District where Prospect Reef is located, Julian Fraser, said he would welcome the Dolphin Discovery.

“It was an asset for the territory, and I would urge you to do whatever you can to see if you can get it back,” Fraser stated at the aforesaid sitting.


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  1. Sorry says:

    with that one, it can stay away. How much revenue is really going into government coffers vs private owners? Would bet the amount is quite neglible.

    Love abd respect the Hon. Lady, but do not agree with this method of money making for the territory.

    The only beneficiary in that is the expat investor, whose sense of imprisonment of inlelligent lives is nonexistent, all for making a buck.

    They are animals, but intelligent ones, and they are being exploited by a dominant animal. Could easily be another human being doing the same to another.

    H**l no, not in the BVI.

    Like 61
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    • Rubber Duck says:

      Clean the place up, open ferry terminals, teach the greeters some manners, stop it with the petty visitor annoying taxes …

      All would do more to encourage tourism than the old hat dolphin prison.

  2. Radio Rich says:

    Its not an asset, its a moral eyesore.

    Like 60
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  3. Fishy Fishy says:

    Only let them return if all the jobs are held by vbi islander’s.

    Like 8
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  4. Bykr55 says:

    Maybe we should ask the ? what they prefer?!

    One would think that a discussion of locking living beings up for profit and entertainment would evoke a more emotional response from an island that repeatedly references their “shackled” past?

    Like 53
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    • cart yo tail says:

      When you all were enslaving black people those sentiments were not echoed

      Like 6
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      • Sigh* says:

        If we the descendants of slaves exhibit the same propensity for lacking empathy, could we really be so quick to condemn the descendants of our captors? How many of us would’ve held the whip firmly were the shoe on the other foot?

        Like 21
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    • Hmmm says:

      We have a ban on hunting sharks but the lessor aggressive sea creature is held captive in the same BVI waters for profit.

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  5. OMG says:

    I can recall seeing a photo with frazer and romney swimming with the dolphins

    Like 7
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  6. BS says:

    Sorry don’t agree – the transportation was done by the same local company owned by a big family that are also agents for the ships. They employed minimal if any BVI people as most were Mexicans and I can’t see how the BVI is losing lots of money from them unless they were paying lots to be here but they were paying rent again to the same large BVI family that has most of the BVI ports tied into them. So unless this is for political favour with the said family can’t see why you would want them back when they did lots of damage to the BVI Brand. Let St Thomas keep the dolphins in captivity and let our tourists enjoy the wild ones they see at Jost and Cooper. There are lots of other attractions we could provide that are better than kept dolphins.

    Like 56
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  7. Bvi says:

    Look at the dolphin area it’s full of sea weed!! Why would you bring dolphins to live it that. When it was open it was full off seaweed and I felt sorry for the animals

    Like 32
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    • local says:

      Yes, its full of seaweed now but the company went into great lengths to ensure the seaweed was removed when it was fresh and the decomposition didn’t affect the animals staying there. I know you guys saw the big cranes they had there removed the seaweed daily. That money spent went into a local company which I’m sure circulated within the Territory.

  8. HAND IN DE BUSH says:

    Really?? who benefits apart from a little tax and a little rent paid here and there.
    100% EXPAT workforce
    Owned by overseas company
    Where is the economic benefit to the BVI?? apart from maybe 0.10cents on the dollar??
    Is this really a viable business, small zoos are in decline as the world now looks on this as a barbaric undertaking.
    DD was a barbaric set up of small cages and small exercise pools, it was a prision sentence for those animals!!

    Com on BVI be different…. oh I forgot this is for the less than intelligent cruise ship market we will sink trying to feed!!

    Like 36
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  9. Just an Idea says:

    I am not sure why so much emphasis placed on the return of the dolphins in respect of cruise tourists. As a matter of fact, attractions like Dolphin Discovery are becoming more and more controversial and bring with them considerable negative reviews for small countries like ours. While cruise tourism plays its part, I do think that the focus should be on stay-over tourists and expanding that market. We must clearly define our tourism product and the target market and begin to put in place the plans and policies to achieve our goals. Of utmost importance is arrangements for more flights into the BVI and securing a major hotel chain to add to our product. This will have major implications for marketing as well as negotiating for more flights into the territory.

    Like 23
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  10. Anonymous says:

    Enslaving dolphins for human entertainment is simply cruel. I’m not sorry this attraction is not operating. Please find an alternative source of revenue…

    Like 36
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  11. Is that so says:

    Were visitors coming to the BVI only to experience the dolphins? As far as I am aware most (if not all) of the visitors to that Dolphin attraction came via the cruise ships, so how is the “BVI losing money” – you mean the owners are losing money, which is the correct statement.

    Like 35
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  12. Outrageous says:

    shame on anyone that thinks this is losing the BVI money. Let’s be entrepreneurial and say NO to having dolphins in captivity and promote the fact that we will NOT under any circumstance keep these intelligent creatures in teeny tiny enclosures for the entertainment of us humans.

    Like 26
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  13. let's be reslistic says:

    How many BVIslanders are certified to deal with the mammals. That’s right they are mammals. It would be nice if there are individuals here who are specialize in taking care of the Dolphins, so we may not have to employ persons from Mexico.

    People start to think outside the box. The Private entity over the Dolphin discovery can encourage that individuals who will like to have the skill set like the Mexicans. The company can send persons to be trained and be certified.

    Like 4
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  14. Vinterest says:

    The industry is thankfully turning to eco-tourism with people being urged to respect the environment and it’s creatures and ecology. It would be a backward step for the BVI to re-visit the sad scene of captured mammals performing for the ignorant. The tourist board should be ashamed… they should think hard on ideas relevant to these islands.

    Like 25
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  15. Old news says:

    Bvi news you cant find anything to report? Look how long ago this was. The propaganda machine is turning.

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  16. Bs says:

    That’s bull $hit! The BVI losing revenue by NOT legalizing marijuana!!

    Like 9
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  17. boyohboy says:

    Well, the government is really in trouble when their ‘Junior Tourism Minister’ feels the territory is losing out because of an absurd and disgraceful dolphin petting zoo is not in operation.
    Flax-Charles is obviously completely out of touch and should not be holding this important position.
    Swim-with-dolphin’ exhibits are now a liability to many destinations, sure a few ignorant rednecks will always want to visit them but the damage done to a country’s reputation for hosting these facilities and profiting from cruelty is much, much worse.
    Maybe one day our leaders and government ministers will wake up and smell the coffee. But I doubt it.

    Like 20
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  18. Dolphin says:

    You humans are captives too.

  19. see says:

    like everything else about the cruise ship s … only one family makes money .

    Like 12
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    • Wow says:

      How cruel, better to stay with cock fighting and pit-bull dog fighting. Now that could be a nice little tax earner for government and something new for cruise ship passengers to enjoy, blood sports in the BVI

      Like 5
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  20. hmm says:

    I guess the VIP government will pay them to open back up again, madness.

    Like 2
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  21. Wow says:

    How cruel, better to stay with cock fighting and pit-bull dog fighting. Now that could be a nice little tax earner for government and something new for cruise ship passengers to enjoy, blood sports in the BVI

    Like 5
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  22. Jane says:

    Alternative ideas for tourism:
    * regular horse racing with cultural food market
    * working salt museum on Salt Island showing the old ways of living, growing and preserving food and local cuisine, local drink-making, hat-making and traditional dress and funghi music
    * develop mountain biking paths on Beef Island and Sage Mountain
    * conservation park with local tortoises, lizards, birds and other endangered animals with a “scary” section with manchineel trees, tarantula wasp etc
    * zip line
    * canyoning and hiking and marked trails
    * refurbishment of African church, Dungeon and other historic sites
    Ms Flax-Charles seems to lack imagination, perhaps time for some new blood at the Tourism Board?

    Like 12
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    • E Scott says:

      Good call Jane. 10/10. All these areas should be gov funded from the RDA note the D stands for development . Hey gov are you listening

  23. E Scott says:

    Here’s an idea , gov to invest in a fleet of glass bottom boats . friendly to the environment, not offered by other islands and if gov owned direct income and trained local jobs. Also sell beverages and food for the trips that the all inclusive passengers on the ships don’t normally buy. The total investment could provide 100 local jobs . Also sell the trips on islands not to the cruse company who rip of the passengers with Hughe commissions and make them feel ripped off which leads to bad reviews for BVI . Only pay a small fee to the cruse company for advertising. And keep the income in BVI. We could even have solar powered boats another unique selling point to BVI

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  24. E scott says:

    Can we also please hear from c****y pasta cline on this as it’s part of his remit to include tourism for his $16,333.00 per month fee .

    Like 2
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  25. E Scott says:

    Just me again with another idea. Why not turn dolphins discovery into a marine biology tracing centre . A us university already send groups here ( but get no assistance or help from BVI gov) this centre could be gov owned and sold around the worlds universities . Big money opportunities in education as a product . also brings other income from accommodation food etc from foreign students and also universities from abroad would invest. Also give free places to local students thus in time giving the islands a unique selling opportunity for the best place to come to learn marine biology . Also include green technology study this educating locals and the green tec companies would invest in tec here that would benefit the whole country and stop money leaving the country of fossil fuels that are imported .

    Like 10
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  26. Somebody who worked there says:

    The animals don’t deserve this life . Prospect reef has all the sewerage system coming down to that area . The water and the space are Not good for the animals well-being . Considering the hundreds of people that animals have to deal from cruis ships ?. This company doesn’t respect the numbers of guest who buy a program . Instead of having 10 people , they add 20 or more . People pay a lot of money for this experience , and who takes the money ? Yes they cover them selves saying they do well for the animals by getting their proper medical needs and best food imported from Canada and also they tell people how happy the animals are because they reproduce them selves and all the babies are born in the facility , but in 2014 they brought 8 animals from the wild and they had them in small areas trying to feed them with the frozen fish to train them and transport them to other facilities on the Caribbean. All this new wild animals stayed there for over a year , they always said this was for a short period and it never was . Tortola is their best point to bring animals from the wild, I don’t know how they do it , maybe there’s no regulations . Please don’t allow this company to come

    Like 8
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  27. local says:

    For all those who are against the return of the dolphins, I don’t get it when there are also animals in captivity at Necker Island and Moskito. Yes, some or roaming the islands and others are in caged. Same difference. Cant be against one and ignore the other. Bring them back yes, our children love and adore them. Not all can afford to do on yachts and might get the opportunity to see them.
    The whole area, Prospect reef is an eyesore in itself. The area can be transformed into an amazing tourist attraction with interactive touch pools, learning facilities, etc.

    Like 2
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    • Musa says:

      Start some thing new water park

      Like 1
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    • LOCALTOO says:

      Who said anything about supporting any wild animals in captivity?
      Besides, to keep a highly intelligent marine mammal in a tiny pen when they naturally swim tens of kilometers a day is cruel.
      Many of these dolphins were caught in the wild as young.. and torn from their families who they have tight social bonds with, just like humans. The trauma they go through is disgraceful
      Just because your children adore them does not make this right. And you’re sending the wrong message to your kids. You should be educating them on the horrors of this industry. Animals are not here to ‘entertain’ humans… that mentality went out a long time ago

  28. EU Citizen says:

    Having fun with captured dolphins is not kosher any longer. Horse racing is.

  29. Rubber Duck says:

    No cruelty in horse racing?

    You cannot be serious.

  30. Home Boy says:

    We need to look for a serious investor or Hotel chain to develop Prospect Reef and then Dolphin Discovery can be a part of the overall development plan.

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