Concerns raised ahead of December 1 tourism reopening date
Though stating he is pleased a reopening date has finally been announced for tourism, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has said government’s failure to reveal a plan to accompany that date raises multiple concerns.
The territory will reopen for tourism on December 1. But speaking in a recent interview with BVI News, Penn said: “The lack of a plan and lack of consultation with the stakeholders is very worrying to me because we only have two months to put the necessary protocols in place to make sure our visitors to the territory are safe, and we are safe.”
“We don’t know whether we are going to open to all destinations, if we are going have all ports open – the Beef Island port, the Road Town Ferry Dock, the West End port. We don’t know what the health and safety protocols are; if persons will have to quarantine for 14 days, what is the status if that is the case [or] how will tourists look at coming to the territory to quarantine for 14 days,” Penn further argued.
Tourism stakeholders should’ve been involved
The Opposition Leader also said he believes the relevant stakeholders within the tourism sector should have been involved in the process of determining the December 1 reopening date.
“These are important questions that we need to ask and the stakeholders need to be able to communicate these answers and these protocols to their guests who are potentially coming to the territory and they need to ensure that they are prepared to accept their guests and also to adhere to whatever safety protocols that are in place,” he reasoned.
Missed a golden opportunity
Penn, who is also the Representative of the Eighth District, said the government had more than six months to prepare for a reopening but missed a ‘golden opportunity’ to resume tourism sooner.
Penn said he believes a better time to reopen would have been in September.
“We made a suggestion in the middle of May to do a September opening. And what that does; that would have given us some time to test whatever safety protocols and health protocols because it is a slow period — our slowest period during that time,” he stated.
“Thanksgiving weekend is really where the bulk of persons typically come to the Virgin Islands and it ramps up from there in terms of our busyness. So to put protocols in place that we are going to test and we don’t know what these protocols are during our busiest time of the year is quite a concern,” Penn added.
Time to move quickly
With the date now set, the Opposition legislator said it is time to press ahead with all the necessary measures to ensure a smooth reopening process in December.
“I think we need to move very quickly for whatever those protocols are to ensure that we test them at least within the first month to see how they would work, what changes need to happen [and] how it would be modified to ensure that the businesses are prepared to really implement those protocols and communicate it very clearly to their clientele who have been asking about coming to the territory,” he said.
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VIP has no plan. They spend so much time in rebranding and launching instead of coming up with a comprehensive plan on everything (school, financial services, opening of country).
Hon. Fahie is such a good d**+++*r he has gotten the people of the territory all caught up in the little issues and they have lost sight on the bigger issues.
When BVI Love was launched last week, they should have been able to speak of the process of the reopening of the territory on Dec. 1. The entire community was so elated, but lost sight of what is the plan. Now, we have to sit and what again for another date and extravagant launch to hear the plans.
I have children living in the USA and would love to have heard the plan so I can make the necessary travel arrangements or know what has to be done in place prior to their arrival.
VIP. NO PLAN, NO VISION!
VIP. WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS.
VIP. MUST GO!
Ain’t no BVI person ever with Covid. we had immunity as island people bringin and catchin it here
open borders and you goin to see no person from here gettin sick
You need to be nominated for the VILLAGE IDIOT. Here we are in 2020 and we still have DUMD IDIOTS LIKE YOU STILL WALKING AROUND WITH THE IGNORANT MENTALITY, I PITY YOU AND MAY THE UNIVERSE RAIN DOWN SOME COMMON SENSE ON YOU.
No plan to open. Just looking to copy what the more elite Caribbean islands are doing that have true leadership. A Dec 1 opening date is useless unless people know the parameters of entering and staying. Not a single person is making reservations because they don’t know what will be required. The stupid new marketing and video is a waste of money and effort. No government management equals no tourists which equal no tourist dollars. Understand that this year the tourists are vacationing where they are welcome and a government that knows what they are doing. This government and its Belongers have no clue.
It’s even bigger than that! Locals are held hostage because we can’t make plans to go anywhere whether on business or leisure, as we have NO CLUE what we will be subjected to upon return. That’s not fair to anyone as people have to go away for medical treatment, people own homes overseas and need to check on them, visit relatives, attend events, so many reasons and we are stuck here for over 6 months with the only recent option being quarantining at a heavy cost in a dump hotel for 14 days. Come on, we need to do better!
I agree 100% and a lot of those tourists will appreciate feeling welcomed on other islands . Now add the number of people who are leaving here for good who have worked and built things for decades . There are dire tines ahead for this place. The BVI has done a good job in killing the Golden Goose .
And replace them with what demons? You forgot why ndp lost. Don’t you ever forget.
Vip have a Plan the people comes first. The safety of our people is what matters. Not to be blunded but the people who crying for money dissing the vip after your getting help from them…..you should of been saving before thinking of partying and buying the latest things that is coming out use your money wiser….go live at your parents house aint no shame.
How you going to pay to import your food and fuel with no income?
How you going eat the food if you dead?
I think you drank to much bush tea when you woke up this morning. Sooooo, do you have enough saved up? Stop putting people in judgement. If they work for their money, they have a right to spend it on whatever they please.
Dear Mr. Penn, I am going to say, you are absolutely correct. I spoke to a couple of friends that lives in the USA that often vacation in the BVI, they all agree that they are going to postpone any vacations to the BVI. December is the Holiday season and everyone is planning to stay close to home.
I OFTEN COME DOWN HARD ON PENN BUT THIS TIME HE IS CORRECT. THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE PUT THIS PLAN IN PLACE WHEN THE VIRUS HIT MONTHS AGO.
Marlon you are playing politics. Your making a fool of your self. You think you have got the government on the ropes but its clear that your only regurgitating other peoples views. Stop and think before you speak. Dont take up other people’s axe.
Please stop being a minion for Foy! Yes he is regurgitating the views of others because everyone and their mother good see what needs to happen except this Government. Hon. Penn’s position is the position of many in this territory. Foy and his administration is c******s and is going to destroy our territory and its economy because of thier in******s. Hon. Smurf you continue to open your mouth and get incapable people from running our territory please!
Shut your stupid mouth up already, you have no idea what you are talking about.How is he playing Politics when he is in Politics. You sound like you have a personal non liking to Marlon. Stay out of grown folks things. Go marinate on that carry on and enjoy the rest of your day.
That’s his job…..to represent the people and their opinions. Hon Penn, keep up the good work!
So we will open the 2021 Tourism Season without our Expat employees? Work Permits on lockdown it seems. We’ve had long-time, skilled residents sitting in the UK, St. Maarten, St. John, St. Lucia, Dominica and the US for half a year, while their new work permit applications languish at Immigration Department. How shall we restart tourism without our skilled employees? Divemasters, Boat Captains, Chefs, Waitstaff, Cabinetmakers, Electronics Techs, Charter Yacht Captains and Crews, Musicians, Artists, Mechanics, Pilots, Planners, Experienced Service Reps? Any tourists you capture would likely visit a wasteland, void any sort of compelling reason to stay.
We the tourists come repeatedly because of the expat workers
I don’t want to be served by an expat – I want a local getting my drink. They are so much more polite – especially on Tortola. The attitude of expats ruins the tourist experience.
Locals polite? Lol. Now that’s a funny one
We come repeatedly to visit the expats
I just find it humorous that you guys think just because the borders open, you will get a massive wave of tourist. The whole world is suffering the effects of Covid, but you economic geniuses have the mentality of “build it and they will come.” Everyone is asking about the government’s plan. What is your plan? If the mass wave of tourists don’t show up, what are you going to do? Blame it on the government, or take a long hard look at the current world economy. I just don’t get the bubble mentality in the BVI.
We know that we are not going to get masses of Tourists but without a plan we will get none and how are we going to eat?
Instead of using up all this money rebranding to attract the few Tourist that might visit, the money should have been used to make sure the schools are safe for the students and staff return.
What about testing the protocol on incoming work permit holders instead of alot of money and lost time in quarantine?
That is to say when the Governmnet has it’s act together on letting them in…..
But without that, certain government cronies who own security firms wouldn’t get their kickbacks. We can’t have that.
You know what going on *handshake*
OK so here is your choice:
1) VIP is opening in December, BUT there isn’t a plan ready for that date. So you are mad.
2) We should have opened ealier in September. So we missed the opportunity to have people here for Thanksgiving. So you are mad.
You are an idiot.
Education, supplies, its buildings and infrastructure has never been and is not now a priority for government. That is so evident.
For them, it is a neccesary evil designed by psyhologist and world organizations.
So many parents, students, teachers and others had so much renewed hope for education and educators across the board with the election of this government. Sadly, that hope has all dissipated.
Man plans, God laughs.
We the tourists come repeatedly because of the expat workers
I would also tend to agree, we only come because the Expat workers is the ones that takes care of us. They are the ones that makes us feel welcome. No Expat workers, we’re not comming.
Say what you want but Marlon is correct. All this running around like headless chickens scrambling for the few Tourist should have been put in place months ago.
One thousand blogs from a crew of NDP will not change the mission of the VIP.
People safety first.
Penn always have concerns. Even his look is a concern and that is why he is now in the opposition. He was a man of concern that we couldn’t put the country in his hands.
He piping without intelligence and frowning and growning with an empty belly.
People safety? There are many people who are literally STARVING and cannot afford the basic necessities because the economy is on the brink and the Government has ZERO CLUE! There’s nothing to feel safe about, right now most people would rather catch COVID and get a 14 day stay in the hospital because there’s a 99% chance that they will be just find after 2 weeks, than to be struggling and can’t feed their family. This place is going down and fast, so keep supporting these clueless leaders.
Is Penn opposing just for the sake of it?
He was banging every table when we shut down that he didn’t want to be shut down. Which was the right decision btw. Now he wants to oppose re-opening. Dude wth.
Opposing only for opposing sake.
VIP take your time and plan properly . Do not listen to Penn and his followers. This is a crisis we are dealing with. Take you time draw up a plan and roll it out. Do not open boarders before a solid plan is in place. These people are sickening. You can’t please everyone. Do what you have to do and do so mindfully. Do not listen to naysayers talking about “ VIP have no plan” this will be their slogan come election time. This will be what the NDP will use against you to get back in power. People with common sense know that you do have a plan. If you didn’t have a plan , would we have gotten this far? This far with little infections. Continue to shine. I think you are doing one hell of job. Keep it up! Some people just ignorant and try to create divide.
What’s the crisis? We test over 4,000 people, just under 100 had it and sadly we had one death which from the information provided could have and SHOULD HAVE been avoided, the person had pre-existing issues and we know the story. Where is the crisis? The only crisis in the BVI is the one created by this inept VIP Government and that is a fact. Many Caribbean Islands that are the so called less fortunate never completely shut down and are doing just fine right now, this Government is a FAILURE PLAIN AND SIMPLE! There’s no getting around it, they have FAILED and continue to go down the wrong path not listening to anyone. People are getting sick and some even dying from stress and anxiety as a result of the economic impact and we here talking about crisis due to virus? 7 months and most people have not received any stimulus or sort of help while the Government continue to pick fights with the Governor and pay CSC over $200K to shout foolishness over the airwaves.
Our country will always be the laughing stock of the brits, US, EU and the rest of the racist worlds, because we have swallowed their divisive politics tablets medicine, and see the world only through political party lines.
Our schools, children, economy, infrastructure, take home salaries and well being of the populace are all being taken for granted and in shambles.
Our tax dollars in the coffers are being raided, divided out to unscruplelous atttendees and questionable non producing initiatives, while we are blindly holding on to party name, none of which are putting forth an economic plan to grow the financial future of the territory, but can find a new initiative every week to spend money on. And the fools are buying into te political liturgy.
If a person is born ignorant, to parents that are ignorant, in a society that is ignorant, lives a life of ignorance, then ignorance becomes the norm.
Thus indoctrination can be called education, tyrants can be called heroes, and lies can be called truths. Because this person never knew the truth-therefore his mind was never his own. This is the hidden reality that presently confronts African people globally.
This is the hidden political reality that is confronting the people if the BVI still today, and the politicians and psuedo politicians are taking full advantage of them.
Lots of party shinnaigants and talk; lots of millions disappearing; lots of people wondering they going; lots of people waiting to see progress; lots of people waiting to see concrete economic future plans for economic expansion that will trigger growth; lots of people want to see an influx of new jobs in new areas in technology, agri inovations nano technonlgy and other areas; lots of people waiting to receive a crumb from the pie; Lots of people waiting to get a few cents raise and collect waht they have already worked for.
Lots of people were impressed with the past four year relentless campaign. Lots of people are now disillusioned. It appears it was not about the advancement of people, their concerns, problems and country.
Instead, it was about the advancement of a few, acquisition of money for a few and solidification of power. At least so it appears to this point.
If you would have left racism out of this it would have made sense.
he got a job to do but he not able Fahie and the VIP got this
I bought aa tickets from Miami to STT dec 1-15 Now I am trying to find out what all the strings are.
For me and all other tourists we need the following:
1)Ferries to/from STT
2) No quarantine
3) Need to know what BVI needs for all covid free folks to come in.
4) No new fees etc.
5) We are ready to come in but need this info with 1-2 weeks MAX
Anything but what is above is a no go. And I believe I speak for most tourists.
If there is even an inkling that tourists will need to quarantine for 14 days they should not have announced a reopening date. Stakeholders are now promoting a reopen date without the idea that a visitor would need to quarantine–most visitors come for a week so this is a non starter.
Watch Andrew and VIP roll out the protocols now! Marlon always forcing their hands.
Seriously we are 6 months into this and we should have been rolling out those protocols the same time with the rebranding launch. I mean how can anyone book a flight without specifics? The next two months should be about making sure the stakeholders are prepared for the reopening, marketing and testing the protocols with a phased reopening starting November. Now we are talking about meeting with various stakeholders?
Like I said earlier I am very disappointed with the VIP’s approach.Whatever was left of the tourist season we may have lost that opportunity with an ill-timed reopening and a launch devoid of specifics.
Without entry requirements announced, we will not come. Ready went to Antigua in June(lost revenue to BVI). Just changed plans for trip to BVI in November ( more lost revenue ). It’s a shame for all of our friends in the BVI. I know it’s not all about revenue, but you could open up safely with appropriate protocols. The bvi is way behind.
We love the BVI and the people. We’ve sailed in the BVI for years. We aren’t rich. We’re middle income families, some with children. We have jobs. Four couples share the expense of a Bareboat charter. Only way that all of us can afford it. We have a charter planned for next year. This is a reschedule of our cancelled trip from this year. If there is a quarantine, we won’t go. Can’t afford to be in quarantine for two weeks. In fact, we can’t afford to be in quarantine at all. Again, some of us have children. A long quarantine would also require us to take an extended vacation from our jobs. That isn’t possible. We just want to come to the BVI and enjoy all that it offers. If we can’t go next year, we’ll probably lose all of our charter and flying expenses. We may never return to the BVI. I doubt that we are alone in our thoughts. Please work this out. We don’t want anyone to get the virus, and would do everything possible and required to keep everyone safe. Please be realistic about this. Listen to the BVI people who rely on the tourist industry. The wrong decision here could damage your tourist industry and your economy for years to come.
We are only allowed 2 Weeks vacation, we have to be in quarantine 2 weeks then we have to pass 2 negative COVID test before we are allowed to travel, that is a total of 4 weeks. It is simply not worth the time and stress to Travel.