The government has announced plans to expand The Baths on Virgin Gorda with the acquisition of Toad Hall Estate.
According to Ninth District Representative and Minister for Natural Resources, Vincent Wheatley, the acquisition is likely to be finalised by October.
“We are at the end of negotiations now, so where we can acquire five extra acres right next to The Baths to add more activities to the whole Baths experience,” Wheatley stated.
Experience at The Baths was declining
The minister said the expansion of The Baths is necessary for improving the overall experience at the facility since numerous reports had suggested that the current space had started to diminish the experience of visitors.
He said: “The Baths is one of the BVI’s premier tourist destinations but it has been coming under a lot of pressure lately because of the cruise ships having up to like 700 passengers trying to fight through The Baths.”
“I must commend the staff for coming up with a good system for managing the herd at The Baths because it was getting really horrible down there, so where you weren’t having a good experience going to The Baths anymore,” Wheatley added.
Wheatley further said acquiring the Toad Hall property will give his government plenty of options that will be used to enhance the experience at the sister island’s attraction.
“I would like to see more happening from the time you hit the parking lot all the way to Stoney Bay, Devils Bay to The Baths to see different things in there, better access for seniors, access for persons in wheelchairs, access for persons who may have medical problems down at The Baths and so forth,” the minister stated.
“Imagine a visitors centre where you can see fish or get lectures and see things before you actually get to the beach, and also to get more different variety of shops selling different things at The Baths experience – coffees, jewellery, juices, locally made treats, cakes and pastries – just get more entrepreneurs involved in that whole experience,” he explained.
Entrepreneurs invited to submit applications
Meanwhile, Director of the National Parks Trust Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal said her organisation will be using monies from the Climate Change Fund to build two additional concessionaires to allow for the setting up of small businesses.
She, therefore, invited all interested entrepreneurs with unique products to offer to submit their applications to the Trust for an opportunity to secure a spot.
She said: “Do not submit applications if you are looking to sell t-shirts or souvenirs; we already have two of those and so now we are looking for somebody who probably want to do like a little mini-spa or somebody who wants to sell coffee or croissants or something like that, something totally different than what is already there.
Dr Titley-O’Neal said the strategy is geared at preventing The Baths facility from becoming saturated with entrepreneurs offering to sell similar products.
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