BVI News

Gov’t to roll out ‘incentives’ to attract new hoteliers

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr D Orlando Smith has said government will be rolling out incentives to retain and attract hotel developers to the British Virgin Islands.

The Premier made the statement yesterday while noting that the territory’s regional competitors in tourism are already attracting hoteliers.

“I know, for example, that [operators of] Little Dix Bay has just opened a property – another hotel– in Antigua for their competition,” Dr Smith said.

“So, we’ve got to offer some incentives to get them (hotel/resort developers) to come in because we need to rebuild too… We got to attract those developers so that we can have that powerful business [product] again,” he added.


The Premier Smith-led government is already offering Customs duty waivers on building materials and other imports to help residents and businesses– especially those in the tourism sector– rebuild quickly.

“We are going to be continuing that and looking at other incentives to give to those persons because there is a lot of competition for individuals who want to build hotels and so on,” the Tourism Minister said.

Big tourism players to stay

Major local resorts such as Little Dix Bay and Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda as well as Peter Island Resort sustained massive damages during the hurricanes.

They are now no longer in operation.

“While they have acknowledged the extent of the damages to their various hotels, they are all committed to rebuilding. Obviously, it may take a little while but they’ve all committed to getting their businesses back up and running,” Dr Smith said.

He was speaking at a public meeting in Cane Garden Bay at the time.

Tourism is one of the top revenue-earners for the British Virgin Islands. The entire sector was wrecked after the category 5 disasters but have since shown signs of recovery.

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  1. Dragon says:

    Sorry do not matter what incentives you give if it takes months to get work permits and immigration time.

    • Albion says:

      Exactly. The whole culture of trying to open and operate a business here is just one of hostility. It is amazing to me that we have any hotels here at all, given what the Government makes them put up with.

      • Online Now says:

        Indeed and add to that the need to have a local partner, often a silent partner whose only purpose is to collect a profit share, it’s no wonder the sector is struggling.

        Either open up more or fail.

        • Wrong says:

          Hotels do not need local partners to open their businesses. There are also many other sectors where expats are granted trade licenses without the need for a local partner. There are certain sectors that are protected and as a small Territory I don’t see what could be wrong with a Government securing opportunities for their people.

          • Online Now says:

            Thanks for the correction. I was not aware of that.

          • hotelier says:

            That is true. But if you want to add a feature to your hotel in BVI , lets say a bar that didnt exist before, you need a another trade license. It takes forever and takes up management time. In St Barts if you want a limo to go to the airport and pick guests up, you do it. In BVI the bureaucracy and protectionism will mean you never can.

            If a hotel has a trade license that license should allow everything a hotel normally does, not be subject to the whim of civil servants who know nothing about running hotels.

          • watcher says:

            Protectionism leads to the type of service we and tourists get from the taxis. And the lack of a bus service.

    • Concerned says:

      First incentive should be to Charter Yacht passengers. To have a bot of 8 for about a week to check into BVI it costs over $1,0000. The Charter industry cannot get a written schedule of charges. Hotel incentives? Who of his buddies has a hotel? I have been witness in past years to secret meetings at Maria by the Sea. This government and its friends will put BVI into bankruptcy!!

  2. The real Boo says:

    The first incentive will be to remove the meddling politicians

  3. Ning says:


  4. WHAT.. says:

    How do you expect to do this? When you can’t process work permit renewals with in a 4 month period, when you have volunteers waiting half a day for a stamp. People waiting to go to work, people needing workers.People needing to buy food, pay rent, pay tax, pay everything but you are holding back everybody… Bottle neck at Labor and Immigration…….Although you said..Expedite things!

  5. Jack Be Trutuful says:

    Nobody cares to open anything under this
    government. The business is bound to fail under their sadistic regime.

    • hotelier says:

      You should not delude yourself that an alternative government would make any difference. The major opposition party and its spokesman is a major off put to potential investors.

  6. roll out says:

    please “ROLL OUT ” go away .

  7. Sam the man says:

    Too little too late, others will probably follow Little Dix lead in establishing hotels elsewhere, for too long the labour and immigration departments have been appalling and they just seem to get worse…

  8. Young One says:

    Okay so… the BVI Is in total disarray and the Premier wants to invite outside companies to come to the Bvi I get that we need it to help our tourism industry but how are the other hotels going to compete with those other big names Ritz Carlton, Hilton, The Marriott?? How???

    Speaking to tourists after being in the tourism industry in various capacities the lack of these hotels are what makes the Bvi unique

    Find a better solution ink some contracts to help the businesses that already exist rebuild their own or upgrade
    Or actually give the young entrepreneurs a try to come up with something even more unique

    • Not2Sure says:

      If Ritz Carlton, Hilton, The Marriott and all them come here that means jobs, investment, tourists, more economic growth.

      You would want to throw all that away just to protect the profits of one or two local hotel owners?

      • Young One says:

        Yes I’m quite sure about my decision, it is a fact that I want to protect the locals,expat and everyone whom resides the BVI, yes those hotels coming in means jobs more investments etc… but think of the Bvi as a balloon if something tries to enter an already inflated balloon it pops and for that same reason is why they don’t allow franchises into the island those hotels will leak millions and millions out of our economy well because the money doesn’t recirculate with in the community and locals can’t compete… it will create jobs but allot of jobs will also be lost what about the workers at these local hotels that will eventually close because they can’t compete with these big brand names, do you think one or two of these new hotels could accommodate hiring those that lost their jobs because they couldn’t compete? I’m just trying to preserve the natures little secret while screaming to invest in the youths give them a fighting chance to become something and give them opportunity to create something unique, after all they say we are the future of our country… if we the youth who are supposed to be the future don’t have no national pride and faith in our country that it will try build on its own rather than rely on what’s already established what will it become

        • hotelier says:

          We already compete with those hotel brands that exist on far more business friendly territories than BVI. Tourism is an international business.

      • Young One says:

        Also I’m not saying to protect the profits of these owners… what I’m truly saying is that to truly build a country from my perspective is to have the people of the country behind you 100 % as a young man coming from the eastern side of the Island and I can only speak for myself I have lost faith in the government

        These policticans scream “All a we is one” but don’t live by Their words “ The youth are the future” but don’t invest in them I’m not saying waste time with the man them who don’t want to come off the block what I’m truly saying is create incentives for the youth so and the people of the BVI have a fighting chance before you invite others

        One Hand Don’t Clap & Take Care Of Home First

  9. ;) says:

    What about incentives for existing hotels rebuilding so they can get employees back and get the economy going? New builds are years off!

  10. The real Boo says:

    Darn jokers always want their “percentage” to line their grubby pockets and grease their palms. First incentive is to rid the place of all greasy palmed politicians.

  11. Honestly says:

    Why hasn’t the Governor stepped in to conduct an audit of all these controversial projects? How could the ministers withhold the Pier project cost overruns from the people while they were running for re-election? How could the ministers invest $7m with a group who had previously raised $ from investors but failed to fly another defunct airline. (Did we get snookered or did the ministers receive some benefit?) We need honest answers before we can pretend to have a stable environment worthy of outside investment consideration.
    So Gov., what say you?

  12. Get your house in order says:

    You speak of Tourism and investment but take a look ! Constant spending at your Tourism Board and you speak of jobs for your people? Government allows expensive foreign consultants to take the work of your people! You market in areas such as Brazil and Italy- where have those Visitors to our shores been in the past 5 years??!! Not BVI! Paying high price agency fees who can’t produce results because simply in the wrong areas. Spend millions on events without ROI or accountability. You have a slew of staffers in NY for what purpose exactly?

    Get tourism in order before you speak on this subject matter!

  13. hotelier says:

    No large hotel chain is coming to BVI anytime soon. The labour laws are against the ethics of most big companies who are proud to be “ equal opportunity employers” No large corporations will operate in BVI with its labour laws. And their managers and owners are going to queue up inthe labour department to pay through the nose to work for themselves.?
    And every time they want to improve their service they need another trade license with a six month wait and everytime they want to change a room they need cabinet approval because they are the “unter menchen”, the second class citizens, the non belongers.

    Also, BVI hotels cannot compete with the likes of the DR at the mass market end and we cannot compete with St Barts, The Caymans, Bermuda and increasingly St Kitts , Antigua and the rest who are welcoming inward investment and investors not treating them like supplicants and stifling them with antiquated short sighted labour laws and endless bureaucracy.

    I doubt whether some of the larger hotels will ever open again. They were not making profits before the hurricanes. I suspect they will use their investment funds elsewhere or sell their lands for housing development. Some of the smaller boutique hotels exist because they are the trophy and lifestyle busnesses of wealthy people. Those too are vulnerable to the view of the owners as to how they are treated in BVI. Its easy for them to move on.

    Sweeping changes are needed if the country wants more hotel development. And we all know the BVI does not do sweeping changes.

  14. Sam the man says:

    Hotelier you are spot on… Massive change is needed which this No Direction Party is simply incapable of orchestrating any meaningful assistance to the tourism industry

  15. Really? says:

    Process people’s damn permits and licences properly and people would be fine. Start with the easy stuff. Stop blocking everything that is not BVI Investment Club mafia. They can’t seem to run a business anyway judging by prime locations like prospect reef and village Cay.

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