BVI News

Dozens of visitors arriving! Plenty activity on first 2 days of reopening

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

Following the reopening of the territory’s borders to tourism on Monday, the scenes at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport have been described as “very busy” with hundreds of arrivals spread across more than 25 booked flights scheduled for the first two days.

BVI News was reliably informed that approximately 150 passengers entered the territory on the opening day, with more than 100 of that number being tourists.

Our news station was on the grounds of the Beef Island-based facility on Tuesday, when the first scheduled flight for the day from InterCaribbean Airways landed just before midday with a total of nine passengers.

Passengers were observed exiting the arrival lounge about 20 to 30 minutes after the flight had landed, and were paired with the person(s) – whether family or friend – with whom they had travelled.

After filling out the necessary documentation, the passengers were observed having their temperature checked, and were sanitised by airport security staff, before being directed to another section to be briefed and accessorised with the mandatory GPS tracking technology. 

The tracking bands were placed on the wrist of each passenger. Afterwards, they made their way to an assigned taxi operator who was parked nearby.

16 flights scheduled for today

BVI News spoke to one of the taxi operators Ras Ajacobiah, who described reopening on Monday, December 1 as ‘eventful’ with the volume of traffic exiting the airport.

He said more of the same is expected today, with at least 16 flights scheduled.

“I heard my president say we have about 16 flights today, I don’t know if he has a head count but 16 flights mean that we will be running our wheels off,” Ajacobiah stated.

“We have a preliminary chart with flights coming in but even yesterday people that were not scheduled on our list as to arrive, they were getting confirmed by government and taking flights so there was an excess of people that we didn’t have on list. So that made the situation a little bit more hectic in a positive light,” the taximan further told our news centre.

Very busy Monday

Ajacobiah also said he was greatly surprised by the volume of persons entering the territory on the opening day, as it was not what he anticipated.

“Yesterday was expected to be a passive day as far as transporting the guests back and forth. But from the first jump, I was the first one here and I moved the first passengers that came in around 10 am in the morning and honestly, I didn’t get a break yesterday. As you go, you meet your destination and you come right back and we just had to load up again and keep going,” Ajacobiah told BVI news.

He added: “We were expecting the flights to be a little stagnant but they were coming so rapidly and we had about eight drivers and we were just rotating the lines. I think we should have had about nine flights yesterday, if I remember correctly. But there were more. Some of the airlines brought more than one leg of the flight.”

Concerns do exist

The taxi operator also expressed that he has some concerns as it relates to the COVID-19 virus but assured that he is taking all the necessary measures to ensure that he is properly protected while executing his duties.

“There is a major concern because we take very precautious care not to handle the bags hands-on. We use our gloves and our masks and so on and we sanitise before and after and we wipe down and disinfect as well. All the vehicles that we use, we have a partition between driver and passenger which is plastic and well secured, just in case if the people are sneezing and coughing, it doesn’t hit us directly,” he explained.

The BVI reopened its borders to tourism after being closed for approximately eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This traveller has been accessorised with GPS bracelet upon arrival at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. (Photo by Kamal Haynes)

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

This traveller has been accessorised with GPS bracelet upon arrival at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. (Photo by Kamal Haynes)

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

Travellers being accessorised with a GPS bracelet upon arrival at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island. (Photo by Kamal Haynes)

Scenes at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Day 2 of the reopening of local borders to visitors. (Photos by Kamal Haynes/BVI News)

Airline lands with residents and visitors on Tuesday December 2, 2020.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

40 Comments

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  1. Spirit says:

    I would imagine there was significantly more load for the taxi drivers due to the need to shuttle every passenger to Sea Cows Bay for their initial COVID-19 testing. Once the testing can be done at the airport, that should reduce the number of taxi trips needed.

  2. Gusti says:

    God bless my bvi ❤️❤️

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  3. Yup says:

    Yup I see lots of social distancing between everyone. Just like everything else, the BVI once again has no clue. Staff members in the faces of visitors. Visitors standing next to each other in line. All just a farce. Just open and stop the nonsense.

    Like 23
    Dislike 7
    • @ Yup says:

      This is from an employer overseas who commented after the CDC decreased the quarantine period from 14 to 7-10 days:

      We’ve had a good number of employees we’ve tested on Day 7 after an exposure result negative, but we still kept them out until they met their 14 days, and they ended up developing symptoms between Days 11-13 and then testing positive.”

    • @Yup says:

      Just hush. You are one of the ones who have been spouting through your arse that nobody is coming.

      You are one that wishes to see the BVI, out pure hatred, fall, wither and die.

      You have the mentality, nut thank god you and those like you don’t have the political and military might and power of Stalin, Hitler,King Leopold and others monsters of the past.

      Sad, what hate does to the mind.

      Like 4
      Dislike 3
  4. Maxwell says:

    According to the nay saying ” no tourists are coming” yet we are now reading that tourists are in fact arriving via the TBL Intl Airport. More will come once the sea borders are open next week. Something is better than nothing.

    Like 20
    Dislike 2
    • doh says:

      150 inbound.

      So, 50 citizens. The 100 might have also included residents and work permit holders. Safe to say maybe 50-75 tourists?

      It’s a start. We’ll see them on the street in 6 days.

      Like 9
      Dislike 3
  5. Welcome says:

    Welcome! Let’s just all follow the protocols and we can beat this.

    BVI Nice! Thanks for coming!

    Like 11
    Dislike 4
  6. VG traveler says:

    How are the people getting over to Virgin Gorda? No mention of the ferry service and taxi driver taking people to their rentals on Virgin Gorda.

    • Tourist says:

      The people arriving are not tourists. They are residents, Villa owners and yacht owners. These people have property in the BVI are were anxious to see the conditions of their property. There are no Villa rentals. Wake up and stop the fake news. Nobody is renting a Villa for a week and have to quarantine 6 days. The biggest issue is that the BVI is using the cheapest Covid test with the most false positives. If you visit and you are false positive you are in for a nightmare vacation. Everyone enjoy!!

      Like 18
      Dislike 8
      • @Tourist says:

        Are you really a tourist or are you from East End? Or maybe you are just living at Beef Island and thinking that you crossing the little bridge to come over on Tortola makes you a tourist. Stop this nonsense bout tourist. Which tourist speak your language?

        Like 6
        Dislike 5
  7. WTF says:

    A whole 100 tourists per day, wow! That makes almost 35,000 per year. That is so close to our 1.1M in 2016. I’m sure this will keep our tourism infrastructure alive and fed.

    Like 13
    Dislike 8
  8. Rubber Duck says:

    I count 7 different tourists in those shots. If so many tourists why the need for 3 shots of the same couple. I head from a different source that there were 15 tourist arrivals and the rest were locals.

    Like 14
    Dislike 6
    • @Rubber Duck says:

      You could not have given yourself a better name. You are indeed rubber duck. Talking nonsense bout you’ve heard from a different source. Who is this different source, Plastic Duck?You all are just ashamed that with all the bashing you’ve made about no tourist would be coming once the borders open, to now seeing them flying into the territory in their numbers backfired on ya’ll negative a**.

      Like 13
      Dislike 8
      • Yup says:

        Rubber duck is right. Any self respecting journalist and photographer would’ve used different shots of people to show more than one group. That would’ve reinforced the story about dozens coming.

        Like 10
        Dislike 3
  9. Captain says:

    So a typical half full ferry of visitors arrived at Beef Island in 2 full days. Wow but not impressive.

  10. We're coming! says:

    I’m so glad you’ve re-opened. We can’t wait to be back in your lovely country. What better place to quarantine? Stay strong!

    Like 14
    Dislike 4
  11. Anonymous says:

    Lol watch the haters try to put a negative spin on things. Anybody with sense or any knowledge of tourist industry know that the BVI is one of the premiere tourist destinations. People with sense know that there will be restrictions due to Covid everywhere in the World so they will adjust to the times.

    Like 17
    Dislike 7
    • Could Have Been says:

      There are so many stories about how visitors to the “premiere tourist destination” have been treated. A recent example is the sailing couple that visited for 25 years and invested millions in the BVI economy, only to be treated so poorly that they abandoned their BVI investments and have been sharing details of their experience with sailors worldwide. I heard a rumor that a book may be forthcoming in the near future. Other recent experiences have been detailed in sailingscuttlebutt.com, possibly the most trusted source of sailing news. The word is likely out on the BVI, and folks are heading to other areas (examples include the Mediterranean, Seychelles, Tahiti, Thailand) for their sailing holidays.

      Like 12
      Dislike 6
      • Anonymous says:

        Lol you big mad and salty. Everywhere in the world you travel to you can find someone who was unsatisfied with their treatment. Some places tourist get robbed and killed and they still go that’s just the way it is.

  12. Stupid says:

    How dumb can you be? No tourists. The economy is done. These islands will be used for trash deposits for the rest of the Caribbean. The government wants the BVIs to burn. It’s over. So long!

    Like 10
    Dislike 16
  13. Airport employee says:

    I was at the airport all day the past two days. Very few tourists. All belongers.

    Like 14
    Dislike 6
  14. GPS??!!??? says:

    You have got to be kidding me!! They put a gps bracelet on tourists?!?! How dumb and crazy can this government be?

    Like 10
    Dislike 9
  15. Hahahahaha says:

    This is hilarious! It’s either a scam or a joke! They think this BS really matters? How about our economy? It’s crashing and the visitors are being treated like criminals. This has to be a bad dream. No way our country would allow this to happen!

    Like 7
    Dislike 5
  16. The Truth says:

    NDP paid bloggers lose again. So sad.

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
  17. Lodger says:

    Bracelets dont work. Stopped issuing them.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  18. Hmmm says:

    Some of the comments are just disgusti8⁸ng and it is clear many wish for this country to fail. Despite the pandemic If we all do our part this country will succeed

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
    • Can’t wait says:

      I heard BVI is for sale. Going to be sold off to investors who want to open resorts and then sell off the whole lot to the USVI. Annexation is next.

      Like 4
      Dislike 3
  19. Bad says:

    So no tests done in airport?

  20. Concern citizen says:

    Thank you God for your Protection and Blessings, please continue to cover us with your blood, and may we all be here to welcome the new year 2021.
    To God be the Glory🙏Amen🙏

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  21. Heckler says:

    Just be prepared for a Christmas under lockdown

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  22. SMI says:

    Tourist in the blog: Why don’t you just shut up, “How the h**l you know who is coming to the BVI? People like you are just haters and want everything bad for the BVI.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  23. MK says:

    Hahahahaha You so down on the BVI why don’t you go back to your country where you have your big house and stop calling the BVI where you live If you don’t like it get out you jerk.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  24. Ausar says:

    Great news and great views!

    This is exactly what we, in the private sector, need to see: TOURISTS,TOURISTS, and even more tourists!

    YYAAAYYYY!!!

    • @Ausar says:

      Don’t fall for the hype!! They have bungled this entire thing and will probably lock down the Territory before year-end because of incompetence. The devices are WAY OUTDATED and not what was promised initially and rules keep changing as they go along.

  25. @Ausar says:

    Agree with the sentiment. It is a sweet thing in the mouth to see economic activity returning.

    However, the territory must now brace itself for the souring that will be coming out of the a**e for sure.

    Without being afraid to speak truth, there are those who wake up everyday with the sole purpose of causing crime, from hateful and racist dogma on social media to more, against Black humanity.

    The territory has done a great job at keeping its population safe, but it is safe to say now those days are numbered. It will attacked by air and sea by Black and white intentionals alike.

    • PENAD says:

      WAS SCHEDULED TO COME TO THE BVI (A BELONGER) BUT WAS TOLD MY HOUSE HAS TO BE INSPECTED BEFORE WE ARE ABLE TO OCCUPIED IT – INSPECTED FOR WHAT?

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