By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
The BVI Tourist Board has seen a considerable increase in the number of local tourism-based businesses that participate in its annual Staycation programme that invites BVI residents to vacation in the territory at discounted prices.
Regional Marketing Manager of the Tourist Board, RaeNisia Scatliffe told BVI News that the initiative has generated more interest this year because of COVID-19.
A total of 20 local hospitality businesses participated last year. “To date, we have about 30 industry partners that are part of the programme,” Scatliffe reported.
“Even before we launched, we had seen persons express interest in vacation … We have been through a lot this year. We have been on lockdown for such a long time and the programme provides a sense of relief, a breath of fresh air being able to explore safely in your own backyard by taking advantage of the different adventures that we have,” she added.
Residents taking advantage
This year’s Staycation programme was launched in June; one month later than the usual May date. But, this is because of the COVID-19 restrictions that had been imposed on the territory.
Since the BVI’s internal reopening and the launch of the programme, Scatliffe said that residents have been capitalising on the various discounted packages being offered by the Tourist Board’s affiliate hospitality businesses.
“We have seen a few images of persons taking advantage of the businesses that they chose, and I even reached out to a few of the industry partners to find out how the programme has been going so far. Some said it was going good and I think I saw Mango Bay said that they were completely booked out,” Scatliffe told BVI News.
“So, we can definitely say that persons are taking advantage of the programme, whether it’s kayaking or just a simple one or two nights stay at a villa or hotel,” she added.
Helps to stimulate the economy
The Tourist Board’s regional marketing manager further pointed to the economic benefits of the initiative, stating that it helps to generate revenue internally.
“It can also be an eye-opener to the residents in the BVI that the BVI is definitely a place where you can vacation. You don’t always have to go abroad to find exploration or adventure, we have it right here at home, and that in turn will be able to put back into our local economy which would be a ripple effect all around.”
Programme created to bring awareness of BVI
Scatliffe also explained that the programme was initially created to bring awareness and educate locals on the many aspects of the BVI that they had not yet discovered.
She said that many residents are unfamiliar with islands in the territory besides the one where they reside.
The programme — which usually extends to residents of the USVI, Puerto Rico and St Maarten — will only be available to BVI residents this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s Staycation is set to conclude in October.
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