Junior Minister for Tourism Sharie De Castro is to be assigned a tourism advisor and a special committee, which will assist with achieving the goal of establishing a National Tourism Plan by December 2021.
This is according to Premier Andrew Fahie, who said De Castro will be given the full authority to create the plan, which is to be incorporated into the 2022 budget and beyond, to boost the territory’s revenues.
He said devising the plan comes at a time when the trials and errors from the COVID-19 pandemic can be used and incorporated into developing a strengthened plan that can withstand future pandemic threats.
“Discussions on the National Tourism Plan prior to the emergence of COVID-19 did not conceive of the changes to the operating environment that could be triggered by a global pandemic. Additionally, the last few months of living and working with the pandemic has highlighted the importance of domestic markets, whereas we have traditionally been focused on the foreign visitors,” the Premier said.
He added: “What we have learnt is that our National Tourism Plan must be able to stand the test of any pandemic or disaster, and it must have a contingency plan built into it where initiatives such as Stay-cations will be more structured and be part of our national plan. This plan is also expected to address seasonal tourism.”
Special Committee to be chaired by JM
The Premier further said that the special committee will be Chaired by De Castro and will be tasked with reviewing the Draft National Tourism Plan once it has been completed.
He also outlined the composition of the committee which is expected to include a cross-section of important stakeholders within the tourism industry.
“This special committee will include the Director of Tourism and the Chair of the BVI Tourist Board; President of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; the Financial Secretary; the Managing Director and Chair of the BVI Airports Authority; the Managing Director and Chair of the BVI Ports Authority; Town and Country Planning; Head of Survey; President of BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association; Sister Islands member from Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada; the Taxi and Livery Association, as well as representatives from Oil Nut Bay, Necker Island and many of our other resorts, a Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park representative; a Crafts Alive representative among other representatives on this committee,” Fahie explained.
Public Consultations expected
Last February, Premier Fahie stated in the House of Assembly that the BVI was working on developing a National Tourism Plan.
He also assured legislators within the House that public consultations will be had on the subject to inform residents of the plan and to gain feedback where possible.
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