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.
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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