At least one cruise line said it prefers to travel to the frigid south pole on the other side of the globe than to make calls to the British Virgin Islands.
Premier and Minister for Tourism Andrew Fahie claimed the cruise line — whose name he did not specify — expressed this to the BVI delegation that attended the recent Sea Trade conference in Miami, USA.
Fahie said the cruise line had such strong sentiments because of the previous NDP administration.
“Based on our meetings with the cruise lines, they were dissatisfied with the previous communications with the BVI and how their relationship was being handled. Some cruise lines were so fed-up with the then government that they redirected their ships to other destinations,” Fahie said while delivering a statement at the House of Assembly on Monday.
“At Sea Trade 2019, one cruise line even advised my delegation and myself that they told members of the previous administration that they would rather send their ships to Antarctica than to send them to the BVI.”
He continued: “We can hold no malice against an operator who says such a thing because if it were you or I and someone made us feel unwelcomed and not valued then why would we want to come?”
The Premier said he impressed on them that the VIP government is serious about cruise tourism and values their partnership.
Inherited poor state of cruise tourism
In the meantime, Fahie said his administration inherited a poorly maintained cruise sector when they took over the reins late February.
“It pains my heart to report some of the facts that I am about to disclose to this honourable House. I take no pleasure in what I am about to say because I do not understand how persons can profess to love these blessed BVI and then conduct the business of the people of the territory with such neglect and contempt,” he remarked.
According to Fahie, initial reviews indicated that once the berthing agreements for the cruise lines were executed by the BVI Port Authority (BVIPA), they were “poorly managed and no measures were put in place to monitor the key deliverables and performance elements embedded in the agreements”.
He said the management of the BVIPA should be held accountable but steps are being taken to correct the issue first.
Fahie said his government plans to increase the investment in the tourism product to enhance guest experience and expand the country’s reach among others.
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