Premier Andrew Fahie has said it is difficult for his government to accept full responsibility for the growing number of pre-booking cancellations which commenced following his announcement of the territory’s protocols for reopening local tourism.
The Premier made that statement during Tuesday’s media conference geared at clarifying a number of the protocols announced the previous day.
He said he believes the majority of the bookings were made prior to the release of government’s travel protocols and said that should not have occurred.
“I don’t want to get into the businesses’ accounts because I did see a lot of it on social media that they have already had such and such amount of cancellations … I am concerned about bookings before you know the protocols because then you would have been booking in anticipation that the protocols would be according to how you might be seeing them,” Premier Fahie argue.
“I have asked persons in different industries, ‘when you say that you made losses due to the protocols, what does that really mean?’ Some of them have told me today that it wasn’t really because of the protocols per se, but because that persons booked like the year before. So when they leave, they have bookings and say, ‘I’ll be back next year’. But when they did that, there was no COVID-19 so some of those bookings would have been lost as a result of that,” he explained.
Government will not be taking full blame
Premier Fahie said the businesses’ decision to preempt the government’s proposed plan played a major role in customers pre-booking without the relevant information.
He further said he believes casting the full blame on the government is ‘going overboard’.
“It’s difficult for government anywhere to take full responsibility for the loss of these bookings before the protocols were established … If you book before the protocols were established and then blame a government anywhere in the world, I still would have to do some more research on that. And that’s nothing towards the businesses not trying to be proactive, but to throw all of that on any government is a little much.”
Difficult position to be in
Fahie, who is also the Minister for Tourism, said the decision to establish the protocols — which were guided by the health professionals — was one that was intended to be in the best interest of people’s safety.
“I’ve had the same number or more persons in the territory who have called me today and said, ‘listen, it’s a very difficult position. I have a business but please do whatever you have to do to keep us safe’. There are certain areas that you need to adjust, listen to the people and see if you can adjust them without compromising our health,” the Premier said.
“And I have had persons call me today and also said to me, ‘look, you guys have done a good job keeping us safe, don’t just let go what you have done to reopen and then let everything go north’.”
Premier Fahie said he will continue to dialogue with various stakeholders in the tourism industry to get their full feedback on some of the protocols.
He said their feedback coupled with the recommendation from the health officials will be discussed to see what changes can be made to the existing protocols.
Once a decision is made, the Premier said he will return via another media conference to update the territory.
Copyright 2022 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.