BVI News

Hundreds of bookings cancelled since BVI’s reopening protocols

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

Following the government’s recently-announced border reopening protocols, at least one marine taxi company which transports tourists from the neighbouring US Virgin Islands (USVI) to the territory is already reporting nearly 500 booking cancellations that amount to a loss of more than $100,000.

This company is the USVI-based Dolphin Water Taxi, which employs about 15 locals through partnerships with privately-owned commercial BVI boats.

According to its manager, Greg Aberle, bookings had started to multiply daily after government announced that the BVI would reopen for toursim on December 1.

He said: “We would normally have roughly 2,000 for the last quarter of the year with 1,500 of that being in the month of December. This year was different because nobody knew when the BVI was going to open. We had only bookings for maybe 350 for the month of December that had come in February, March, April, and that time frame.”

“When the BVI put out that promotional video that it opens on December 1st, reservations started flowing in at a click of approximately 30 to 40 per day as people made their airline bookings and hotel or charter boat bookings. The calendar through the first week of January was beginning to fill in just nearly like a normal year until yesterday,” he further explained in an interview with BVI News.

100% in cancellations expected

Aberle said business took an abrupt turn following Monday’s announcement of the BVI’s protocols, which saw about 50 percent of the pre-booked customers cancelling their trip.

“Of what was a sum total of approximately 750 up to maybe 900 people between December 10th and January 10th, thus far about half have cancelled. I suspect the remaining half will cancel as well. It is nearly a 100 percent cancellation rate because none of the bookings were more than seven days long so they could not even come anywhere near handling an eight-day quarantine,” the water taxi operator stated.

“Not even any hinting about returning for January, February, March or April. Only one group of 10 pushed it back to June. The rest are saying they will go elsewhere or maybe stay in just on the US Virgin Islands side and get hotel bookings there.”

$100,000 plus in revenue losses

The manager further said the cancellations will result in his business losing more than $100,000, and the BVI’s economy missing out on more than $70,000.

He said: “As it pertains to money. It is a total loss of revenue for that four weeks — which is traditionally our busiest time of the year — of about $110,000 to $130,000. Eighty percent of this is returned back to the BVI and our operations there. That’s without factoring in the Jost Van Dyke New Year’s Eve party which brings in 200 people times $150 per person which equals $30,000.”

He further said: “It has been my experience that the average tourist in the BVI spends approximately $100 per day. So if you factor in Dolphin Water Taxi’s scheduled guests at 750 total, that’s a revenue loss of $75,000 spread throughout various restaurants and businesses for those few weeks over the holidays.”

Cancellation due to quarantine period and costs for all the COVID tests

Aberle also shared the explanation given by persons who cancelled their trip, saying it was largely because of the BVI government’s announced protocols.

“The reason people are cancelling is because the quarantine is eight days long and their trips are only seven days. It just doesn’t work for them. The few people that plan on spending two weeks are certainly not going to spend and incur the cost of three coronavirus tests plus seven nights in a hotel of which they don’t even know where they have to stay,” he stated.

He added: “It’s definitely not an opening when 98 percent of your tourists only come for seven days and you’re making them have an eight-day quarantine at their own expense. That means you are still closed to all of those potential tourists.

Aberle said he believes if the current protocols exist through to January 1, 2021, his company will lose out on a total of about 4,000 total passengers for the year 2020.

Other businesses in the territory also reporting cancellation

Meanwhile, a number of local business owners also took to social media to share similar sentiments.

In some cases, they claimed they were now forced to refund pre-booked customers thousands of dollars due to cancellations which were said to be linked to the BVI’s reopening protocols.

Premier Andrew Fahie has since said government is not fully responsible for these cancellations. 

Difficult for gov’t to accept full responsibility for cancellations

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

58 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Omg it’s a disaster!!! This government just killed tourism.THEY ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL CANCELLATIONS!!..COME ON PEOPLE MAKE A LIVING THROUGH TOURISM NOW U JUST CAME AND PLUNGE IT INTO THE GROUND.WHAT A WASTE GOVERNMENT

    Like 55
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    • who to blame says:

      While it is a difficult time for all, i would like to point out that Dolphin Water Taxi is base in St Thomas how much tax does he contribute to the BVI.
      Yes it is bad for us here but he is just interesting in his self.

      Like 13
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    • Think says:

      Here’s a bit to think about before you all venture down on your vacation. You will be required to put an app on your phone for gps tracking. Welllllll, guess what else the app may be able to do. It may be able to glean all your personal information from your phone. Credit card info, banking info, personal conversations, emails, etc. And to whose hands does this info go to while you sit in quarantine? Place your trust in the almighty but not these people.

      Like 6
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  2. Lindy says:

    Government is responsible for this 100%. My 5 year old makes better decisions then this government. Can the US buy the BVI ??

    Like 52
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  3. Anegada says:

    I think we’re too quiet about the situation I think we all as a business personnel need to get up and protest About this

    Like 68
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    • Forward ever Backward never says:

      @Anegada
      We business people are really being too passive about what this government is doing. Our businesses are our life long achievements and livelihoods. We have to stand up and be heard, but to be heard we have to speak out. Firstly, Andrew Fahie and his government have to Lead, but not lead us to h**l. Andrew are you hearing?? Are you Listening?? You need to be doing both, or you got to Go.

      Like 40
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    • @Anegada says:

      And you have a right to protest. He just messed everything up in a big way. You mess with the Tourist Industry, you are PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH THE COUNTRY. I JUST DON’T GET IT, SIX MONTHS TO PLAN AND STILL TO THIS DAY CANNOT EXPLAIN WHAT THE PLAN IS? I WOULD STRONGLY AGREE, THE PREMIER WAS TO FOCUS ON PICKING UNNECESSARY FIGHTS WITH THE GOVERNOR.

      Like 26
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  4. Taxpayer says:

    One COVID 19 patient in ICU would cost $100000, doesn’t matter if he lives or not, but who pays it?GOVT? for $30 benefit to taxi?

    Like 9
    Dislike 41
    • @Taxpayer says:

      And how much does it cost us to treat cancer? Diabetes? Hypertension? So we should close all restaurants and ban all fast food/junk food/rum etc.? Give me a f***ing break! We are going to let the Territory turn into Haiti because of a f***ing virus? We are getting dengue and other things while the borders are closed so there are risks regardless. So let’s just all go broke, stressed and hungry as long as we don’t get COVID which has a 97% survival rate globally!

      Like 58
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    • Fake news says:

      BS. On patient would not cost that much if they pull their heads out of the sand and treat early and sensible instead of sending persons home with no treatment or worse yet, putting persons on a ventilator to die. How you get those astronomical figures?

      Like 6
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    • The Hooded Claw says:

      Are you saying that the BVI had 70 plus cases that all recovered each costed us $100,000 dollars each? You’re a LIAR! Seek Christ!

      Like 1
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  5. Heckler says:

    BVI loss is USVI’s gain. Great job Mugabe and team!

    Like 46
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    • #BVIBROKE says:

      #BVIBROKE

      Like 14
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    • Not Necessarily says:

      Most tourists that had planned to come to the BVI may relocate to St John, but more likely would go to St Lucia, Antigua, Anguilla instead.

      Like 14
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    • Hail Mugabe says:

      Why are you trying to call down Mugabe with this I***t government. Mugabe may have been crude but AFRICANS in Zimbabwe will be better off because of his land distribution policies. These cl***s are no Mugabe they are just f**ls that managed to l** their way into govt

      Like 2
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  6. We can complain says:

    We can complain but foy only listens to people who are telling him he is doing a good job.

    Oh, and of course to the doctors who told him …covid is probably lethal.

    Like 26
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  7. Oh well says:

    Our health are a priority. Money do not go with us when we die. I’m glad for the restrictions. BVI does not have the resources for a major out break. Good job premier. 👏 👏

    Like 19
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  8. Just my 2 cents says:

    Its unfortunate that the Premier has to resort to these kinds of rhetoric. Sadly, the reopening announcement was made without adequate planning or thought (guess they were pressured by the opposition). Given the Premier’s position, he must be mindful that FULL responsibility lies on their shoulders since they are the authority or decision makers.

    The tourists would have taken a stock-market approach to their vacation plans of recent or if booked prior to the Covid threat, unanticipating the chain of events. Unfortunately, they are well within their rights to reverse or cancel and recover as much funds that was previously spent for bookings etc. They have not felt any substantial loss if they are refunded, however, its the local businesses and people suffering. Is this the tourist fault? Hell’s no! They have secured their best interest. These draconial reopening protocol is absurd. I am paying my money as a tourist to enjoy my vacation or visit to the territory not to be locked up and confined 4+ days of a 7 day vacation spree. Better to stay at my home or look at alternative elsewhere.

    Should the Premier and his government accept the blame. Yes! Very poor planning and strategizing. Their reopening protocols is nothing short of political and economic terrorism in cohort with the ‘agenda’.

    Then again…a dilemma we face. Open at the expense of increasing Covid or remain closed at the expense of continued economic demise (for some as others seems to be prospering during this time).

    Like 25
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  9. Cancelled says:

    I am so sad for our friends in the BVIs. There is no way they will be able to overcome this terrible decision from the government. Its a nail in the coffin. Sorry my friends. I hope you are able to flee the country to find somewhere that loves you. Your government is killing the BVIs.

    Like 41
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  10. Rick says:

    All who talking p**s don’t you need money to eat

    Like 7
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  11. BVI ayo tek dat says:

    This premier is worst than trump

    Like 24
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  12. No Mention of Health and Safety says:

    Amazingly no mention of health and safety. These people are driven by greed. Don’t care if they die before being able to use the money.

    Like 4
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  13. Thoughtful Sailor says:

    Leaving aside what the protocols should/can be, the fact that this has all been done so late, and with so little private sector consultation, when this all started seven months ago, IS entirely the Government’s responsibility. Not only that, but it makes the whole BVI look foolish and unprofessional,

    Like 28
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  14. Capt Grish says:

    Booked sxm today after we cancelled BVI. Moorings had over 50 cancellations since announcement.

    Like 21
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  15. Watchers says:

    Can’t wait for next election. U telling that is the best these people can do. What a waste. No sort if strategic thinking.

    Like 12
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    • No say says:

      The next election , that one where ONLY belongers can vote , so about 2000 people basicly cause no one else can get a vote , he would do well to remember what happened in america in 1776 with the no vote then, i look forward to him being removed from office cause no way he is going to get a second term with his overt r***sm and h****d of all things non BVI, the way he goes on anyone would think it was a paradise , if only they stopped throwing everything in bushes , leaving derilect cars all over and killing any wildlife they see on the road , it well maybe

      Like 2
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  16. S cow says:

    Bvi u doing good jackass government num skul

    Like 1
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  17. Anonymous says:

    $100 per day???These can’t be the same tourist that would prefer to walk in the rain than to catch a taxi.

    Like 6
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  18. Optimist says:

    I am just reading all these post and wondering, if some of you writing these nonsense living on planet earth?
    LOOK AROUND THE WORLD. Some of these visitors had business and I am sure they’re affected, just like you and I.
    Why not, focus a little more locally? Day sailing a little more affordable; so if you normally charge $100 settle for $75…..The Government should create more clearance and cleaning jobs of each and every area. “I always say this island is too small for roads to be so bad.
    We have become so heavily dependent on tourism, we forgot how to stand on our own.
    Lower hotel fees , so whenever the few visitors arrive they will tell a friend and that friend might tell ten other friends and the news will spread that BVI is ready for business. Just a thought.

    Like 4
    Dislike 5
  19. Why wait until the next election... says:

    Let’s band together and ask Governor Jaspert to do one last act before he leaves. Or maybe Governor Rankin can assist. We won’t make it to the next election. Please see that a recession is brewing and these officials are set!

    Like 6
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  20. lol says:

    These cats making it up as they go along playing pattycake with our economy

    Like 5
    Dislike 2
  21. @No Say says:

    I guess you and the same 50 bloggers that are on here religiously will vote him out. Or are you saying that you can’t vote as you are not a belonger and that you will organize a revolution? I think no one here is looking at the bigger picture. The numbers will not reach those of last season. Anyone with sense would understand that. There may be a few thousands that are brave enough to venture from the “safety” of their homes, but the BVI isn’t their only option. We would have to share with other regions of the Caribbean.

    Personally, I think the protocols need to be revisited, but I also think that it’s time that people in the BVI start thinking globally instead of in a BVI vacuum. It is very short-sighted and doesn’t allow for an overall visual of the big picture. Everytime I read these comments, mostly what I read is all about self interest. This does not bode well for the longevity of any community or economy. And that’s my two cents.

  22. Jjj says:

    Premier pocket safe, the gotera are hungry

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