While noting that the ongoing rough sea conditions that caused beach closures across the territory is the worst he’s seen in roughly a decade, Chairman of the BVI Tourist Board Russell Harrigan said these conditions have had both negative and positive impacts on local tourism.
He said, while he doesn’t expect the situation to last for more than a few days, the beach closures may affect tourists who are only in the BVI for a day.
“It probably cause some dislocation to some of our visitors, particularly some of these who are on the cruise ships that come in as day trippers. They would be the ones who probably would have the most impact, because they are here for a day and they hope to go to beach and enjoy.”
Harrigan however noted that there should be no severe impact on tourism.
“The beaches that are affected are on the north; the south is not. Visitors are [still] able enjoy the beaches on the southern part of the territory,” he said.
Harrigan also noted that Bradywine Bay beach is being developed for situations such as this.
“The work that you see going on at Brandywine Bay; one of the objectives of that project is precisely in situations like this when the north is not as user-friendly…comes in quite handy and useful, because it gives our visitors an alternate place that they can go beach-wise. That is one of the strategic objectives of that facility.”
In the meantime, some visitors – particularly surfers – are enjoying the rough waters, Harrigan said.
“Oh yeah, they are out in their numbers… There are hundreds of them out there enjoying the waves. There are people – some of the ferries that have visitors coming in; they are all coming in with surf boards. So for them it’s a bonanza.”
“There are a number of spots where you surf in the BVI whether it be Josiah’s Bay [or] down in Apple Bay.”
The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) has red-flagged several beaches since last week because of what it described as ‘hazardous seas’.
The beaches that were ordered closed include Long Bay on Beef Island, Smugglers Cove, Long Bay West End Tortola, Capoons Bay, Brewers Bay, Trunk Bay, Rogues Bay, Josiah’s Bay, Lambert Beach, Little Bay, the Baths, Cane Garden Bay, North Shore of Anegada, the Bubbly Pool on Jost Van Dyke, and Savannah Bay on Virgin Gorda.
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