BVI News

Gov’t plans to provide emergency airlift for visitors ahead of hurricanes

Photo by Davion Smith/BVI News

Persons visiting in the British Virgin Islands will soon be able to be airlifted from the territory whenever a hurricane is approaching the territory.

Premier Andrew Fahie made that announcement on Tuesday and said the intention behind the move is to support increased arrivals into the territory.

“The fact that we are vulnerable to hurricanes has been identified as one of the reasons some potential visitors are sceptical to travel to the BVI at certain times of the year; which creates an off-season,” Premier Fahie explained.

“They worry about how they will get to safety if a hurricane threat arises. But, if we can assure our visitors that they will be guaranteed airlift capacity and an opportunity to get to safety, they will be more likely to visit our shores,” he further said.

Competitive environment

Citing regional statistics, Premier Fahie said other Caribbean destinations are also implementing innovative ways to encourage tourist arrivals to their shores.

He said: “The operating environment of 2019 has provided opportunities as well as threats for the Virgin Islands. On the one hand, the Caribbean Tourism Organization has registered increasing interest by tourists in Caribbean destinations since the latter half of 2018 with a 12 percent increase in arrivals to regional destinations in the first quarter of 2019. But our neighbours – our competitors – are upping their game.”

The Premier, who was speaking in the House of Assembly, said destinations such as Barbados, Bahamas and Cayman Islands are pushing hard to remain on top of the proverbial charts.

He explained: “Barbados is set to host the Caribbean International Tourism Conference from December 11 to 13, and Nevis has been named as the host country for the 10th Tourism Human Resources Conference in May 2020. By that time, St Kitts is expecting a major increase in airlift with both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines extending their existing non-stop Saturday flights to the island from John F Kennedy Airport.”

“Cayman Islands this month announced that its room stock is now past 7,000 with the condominiums and villas categories accounting for 73 percent of the 1,000 rooms added in the last three years. Recent reports indicate that Grand Bahama Island has already rebounded from the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian last August, and many of its major hotels, marinas and attractions have begun reopening. Cruise ships have started making calls. Grand Bahama will welcome its one hundred thousandth cruise visitor by the end of the year, and the Grand Bahama International Airport is expected to reopen by the end of this month,” he added.

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12 Comments

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  1. Truth says:

    This was needed from long ago.

    Like 3
    Dislike 3
    • Skeptical says:

      People skeptical to visit the BVI cause you charge them stupid fees. An environmental tax and you intend to make drag racing a sport. You have your heads up your asses. Only the Belongers pollute what was a beautiful pristine land.

  2. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Today, tropical systems are identified from birth (formation) and tracked through their end of life. Hurricane experts with a high level of certainty can chart the paths of hurricanes. This is a significant change over the capability in the 1940, 1950…..etc. Birds, animals, elder residents intuition……etc were used to indicate an approaching hurricane(s). For example, the gale that the Fancy Me ran into on the way from Santo Domingo; tens of Virgin Islanders perished. Hurricane season officially starts on 01 June and runs through 30 November every year. Visitors plan their trips knowing this information, knowing that they may have to cut vacation/trip short if a major hurricane is approaching.

    As noted earlier, meteorologists have the ability to project/estimate where and when a hurricane will pass. As such, government should advise visitors at least 48 hours out that a hurricane is likely to pass near or make landfall on about 72 hours. Armed with this information, visitors can decide what action(s) to take. Does government have the transport assets to evacuate visitors? Is it going to put an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity(IDIQ) contract in place? No doubt, the VI with this proposed is trying to differentiate itself in this regional competitive tourism market. Nonetheless, at what overall cost and risks?

    Like 18
    • Lilly says:

      I totally agree. America which owns planes and large airports is not offering this service. Why would the little BVI get involved in such. They need to focus on assisting locals to secure themselves during such a time by ensuring there are adequate and safe shelters.

      Like 7
      Dislike 1
      • America says:

        Oh no miss.Lilly.if you do your research,you will see that when a storm is predicted they always evacuate the tourist. If they can’t, they will make sure the tourist is secure in a Hotel. Why is it that you people is so stuck in the dark ages and refuse to accept anything.would it not be safer to evacuate the tourist than have a major lawsuit on your hands Miss.Lilly?

        Like 4
        Dislike 3
        • @America says:

          @America, which country, city, town…….etc take on the responsibility to airlift tourists during a hurricane? Locales look at the path, category………etc and issue order to evacuate. Some locales offer assistance to indigent, disable……etc.

          • America again says:

            IDIOT,TEXAS, NORTH CAROLINA OUTER BANKS, MYRTLE BEACH NC, KEY WEST AND OTHER COASTAL TOURIST DESTINATION DOES TOURIST EVACUATION IN THE EVENT OF A PENDING HURRICANE.I AM NOT GOING TO SPEND MY TIME EXPLAINING SOMETHING TO A BRAINLESS IDIOT THAT NEVER STEP FOOT OUTSIDE OF WHERE YOU ARE FROM.GO HAVE A STIFF DRINK AND TAKE YOUR IGNORANT ISLAND A** TO BED SO YOU CAN GET UP WITH THE ROOSTERS.

        • Hmmm says:

          What lawsuit are you talking about. Hurricanes are acts of God. Visitors need to leave as soon as they are made aware that there is a hurricane which is likely to hit these islands. There is usually ample warning.

      • Nope says:

        they busy serving their rich white masters for a few political crumbs.

  3. Really! says:

    And with tax payers money? yet with the tax payers money they can’t make available more money to employ more people for home care for the elderly. Most of all to construct a bigger home to house them all.

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  4. Retired says:

    Just out of curiosity how many tourists were still in the BVI on 6 Sept. 2017?

  5. RealPol says:

    Real talk. The lack of executive experience is on display. Government needs to debate and discuss ideas before divulging them to the public, unless they are trial ballots. Making drag racing national sport is another pie in the sky area. The VIP is quick drawing and spending the proverbial ‘silver bullets’ on questionable ideas. Trying to please all 30,000 of us is a loosing battle.

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