BVI News

BVI overdoing its tourism product; keep it authentic, officials told

Visitors aboard a cruise ship docked in the BVI recently. (BVI News photo)

The British Virgin Islands has been told that it is doing too much as it relates to its tourism product.

Premier Andrew Fahie said international tourism officials made that remark when he led a delegation to a Seatrade conference in Miami, Florida last month.

He said it was impressed on the delegation that more should be done to present the unique and cultural aspects of the territory instead.

“When we went to Seatrade, every single cruise operator executive said we are looking to overdo with our tourism product. All they want is those simple things: storytelling, our local dish, and many other things we take for granted. That’s all they want to see because they know they are coming to somewhere that’s different,” Premier Fahie said in the House of Assembly recently.

He continued: “One of the executives in the cruise industry told us that he was in the BVI and he stopped in a little village named Carrot Bay, and he saw them with their fish and their agriculture and saw a reclaimed land that could be turned into a cultural and heritage village.”

Fahie, who is also the representative for Carrot Bay which is part of the First District constituency, said this is something he has unsuccessfully lobbied for in the last eight years.

The Premier said cruise executives also promised to bring their passengers to the village if it is implemented.

In addition to Carrot Bay, Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda will also receive a cultural and heritage village.

Junior Tourism Minister Shereen Flax-Charles said, in addition to storytelling, the culture of fish pot-making, straw-hat making, and bread-making will be on showcase at both venues.

“We also intend to create a maritime museum on the island of Virgin Gorda to showcase the maritime history of not only Virgin Gorda but of the entire BVI,” she said.

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  1. Rubber Duck says:

    Look no further than the despoiling of Long Bay on Beef Island to see how the BVI shoots itself in the foot with these “ improvements “. Jet skis next. Then people walking the beaches selling you genuine $25 Rolexes?

    Like 35
  2. LMB says:

    Nothing in this report says we are doing too much. It says we should “also” focus on promoting our authenticity and culture. Not that we are doing too much. Sheesh

    Like 22
    Dislike 2
  3. Farrah says:

    This sounds like smallmindedness to me.

    Like 2
    Dislike 12
  4. Long look says:

    Allen Wheatley had that in his manifesto 10 years ago for the long look area..

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  5. Problem says:

    Our culture is now money so we have a real problem on our hands.

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  6. Strupes says:

    Ayo always finding something to say… stop nuh… so small minded. Thats why we how we is..

  7. nick says:

    they say to keep it authentic.NO JET SKI.

    Like 33
    Dislike 2
  8. Ausar says:

    Ah hope, Premier, that when our people cook up the peas soup and the fish and fungi dishes, that the cruise passengers will be genuinely interested in just not seeing, but TASTING these island delicacies.

    It’s all fine and good to tell our people to prepare these dishes. But we must have assurances that cruise passengers want to eat them also.

    In the similar manner that cruise officials have contractual agreements with restaurants, ensuring their sound economies,let’s ensure these agreements are in place also for those stand-alone individuals, serving up the local cuisine, so their economies are,too,assured as well.

    Like 13
  9. BuzzBvi says:

    Bvi so much better. I remember the days when there were no chairs to look at one beach. Now chairs are everywhere. I will be back every year to look at them. No more beautiful open white sandy beaches. Just chairs, beautiful chairs. Some brightly coloured too! You can’t have enough chairs.

    Like 18
    Dislike 2
  10. Exactly says:

    These people don’t care about local businesses, they want what they and tourist board and others just want to show a good face, that’s it. Local businesses are left holding the bag after putting on the show and nobody gives a sh-t.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  11. Exactly says:

    Tourist wants culture. They want to experience the Territory, through it’s food, it’s beauty, it’s culture. Let’s bring our culture back to Tourism.

    Like 19
  12. What!!!! says:

    So cultural experience, No jet skisn please.

    Like 20
  13. CW says:


    more experts talking in the comments. Cruise ships are VITAL to the BVI. Some of those cruisers want culture, some of them want jet skis. NONE OF YOU ARE EXPERTS IN TOURISM. STOP CALLING EACH OTHER OUT WHEN YOU YOURSELF KNOW NOTHING. TOURISM PRODUCTS NEED TO APPEAL TO A BROAD GROUP, NOT YOUR NARROW MINDEDNESS. and strupe after strupe calling for what they PERSONALLY want. You’re acting like Americans, not BVIslanders. SMH.

    Like 2
    Dislike 17
  14. HAND IN DE BUSH says:

    Great, clear out the Pier Park of all the imported companies that are in every port… it is what NCL begged our Government to do and I quote Collin Murphy the development director at the opening of the Pier Park ” May I please stress to the Government we do not want to see Diamonds International, Little Switzerland or any of the other CHAIN stores you find at every port, we want the Pier Park to showcase the BVI”. There are BVI owned business that Irma (or the looters) took away who have not been able to reopen due to real estate… give them space….

    Like 24
    Dislike 2
  15. Ah boy says:

    Premier don’t mind the noise. There are more of us that are with you than those that are against.

    Like 6
    Dislike 3
  16. 100% agree says:

    There is so much to see with a little time and not much money. The old prison tour was awesome for the short period i lasted. Government house museum, historical walk of main street. Fort Charlotte (Fort Burt?) could be revamped as great historical places and to take a picture of your cruise ship. There are sugar mill ruins all over.

    Like 10
  17. unique says:

    bring back bombashack

    Like 15
    Dislike 3
  18. Reasoning says:

    First thing we need to come to grips with, is the fact that the cruise market is in the same business as we are; thus are in direct competition. The same folks on those ships would be willing to stop off at some of our vacation destinations and im sure some do; but like Facebook who reminds us daily (that we haven’t posted anything in the last 24 or whatever days) wants us to stay glued to FB, the cruise industry likewise wants and is intent on holding on to their cruisers. If they were not seasoned annual cruise takers, the industry is intent on making that so, From the minute the passengers get off the ships, they are bombarded wit offerings of all sorts to get them to take another cruise, hopefully with the whole family or grandmother etc.
    Therefore, it is not in the cruise liners interest for destinations to build up by investing more in land base tourism that would likely compete with the them hence the suggestions that we should bake bread and johnny caskets and the like when the tourist come ashore mainly just to stretch their legs after the overload on fattening foods; leaving their wallets locked away on the ship.

    We and other destinations print fancy colorful brochures with the idea to encourage the same folks on the ships to come back and visit us. However it is not working and am doubtful that our tourist board offices or those of other countries have any statistics on a successful program to convert cruise takers to land-based vacations.
    Wile it help with our overall tourism offering to do things and projects that would enhance our tourist offerings, it should be done morose with satisfying our land based tourist.

    In honest, I am not seeing anything more we or others can do, unless the ships are willing to corporate with us; for example keeping the ships in port until midnight enjoying a local heritage night, mini carnival or mini music fest. But then again, they need to keep the cruisers on board gambling and consuming from their own generously stocked bars. Even Duty-free isn’t that exciting any longer as that with their Smart phones anything they want (from Ali Baba, Ebay Amazon) is only a click away.

  19. My 2Cents says:

    Years ago I mentioned to some persons in Carrot Bay that the land fill should be made into a cultural village where tourist could come and witness/experience local culture. There are still a few persons in the village who use the brick oven. What more would a tourist want/enjoy than to taste a hot bread or tart fresh out of a brick oven with a cold glass of locally made drinks etc. My idea was shut down. No one wanted to hear me so I let it be. If I knew how to operate that brick oven; trust me I would not be in an office doing something I don’t enjoy.

  20. JB says:

    Oh please don’t spoil Carrot Bay the way you have allowed Cane Garden Bay to be spoiled.
    Keep it the quaint village the tourists enjoy. Put your cultural museum in Fahie or Wherever this premier person who made such a suggestion is feom

  21. Anonymous says:

    Maritime Museum in Virgin Gorda… You schupid or what. All maritime history in Salt Island (Rhone), Salt, Norman Island (Pirates), Peter Island (Fishing), Tortola’s east end (Boat Building), Tortola’s west end (Boat Building). Please THINK!

    Maritime Museum in Pier Park a good idea. Someone dropped the ball there!

  22. Rastarite says:

    Maritime Museum in Virgin Gorda… You schupid or what. All maritime history in Salt Island (Rhone), Salt, Norman Island (Pirates), Peter Island (Fishing), Tortola’s east end (Boat Building), Tortola’s west end (Boat Building). Please THINK!

    Maritime Museum in Pier Park a good idea. Someone dropped the ball there!

  23. E Scott says:

    Tourism wants culture sadly Tortola has no culture it was all thrown away a long time ago when easy money rolled in with the off shore financial services money launderers. Local food hahahaha the most common food in Road Town is Chinese show them real Tortola culture a boy on a bike g*n down a man after they have watched a Jamaican girl strip for money whilst drinking cheep American beer .

  24. Concerned says:

    There is still plenty of land on Wickham’s Key, build a local village with rebuilding old houses, with fishing net’s, pots and old fishing boats around, that is what lot’s of destinations offer to give cruisers the feeling of their heritage. Charge an admission for it as it is done worldwide. You can offer boots to sell coconut water and food. Or put it in Long Bay on the palm-grove with a museum of the artifacts found there.

  25. Fact says:

    The last time I was at the pier park when it had a ship few weeks back, one thing lots of the tourists that came off asked for was fried fish and johnny cakes. Yes that’s exactly what they wanted, at least 6 persons. I called around to the restaurants close by and no one had. We really don’t need to be fancied up like the other countries, we just need to step up our local products (tarts, beads, local juices, unique local dishes, etc.). Let’s not disappoint the tourists that wants to spend their money on things they can’t get anywhere else. BVI We Strong!!!

  26. Wellsaw says:

    Mr. Premier I honestly do applaud your efforts in pushing forward our country and the notion of tourism – good job!
    My concerns however is that you’ve already paid a consulting company 98k to do what you’re doing. We need you here to direct and help with the recovery process from the hurricanes.

    Best wishes sir.

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
    • To well saw says:

      The Premier is being expected to do in 8 months what the NDP has not done in 8 years. This expectation needs to be managed. Most of us though congratulate the Premier on his leadership since elections in February. Keep on it.

  27. Strange says:

    I thought they said we had the best director of tourism. She clearly needs to go then so we can get some new initiatives to boost our authenticity

  28. Fake Tourist says:

    The Pier Park is a fake BVI town…have any of you been there!? No wonder the cruise ship people made that comment. Please don’t use government money to build another one in Carot Bay or anywhere else!!! Take the tourists to the Bond if they want to see a real BVI town (or any other BVI neighborhood with bars and restaurants)

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