As with many plans stalled because of the damning Commission of Inquiry (COI) report and its ensuing recommendations released nearly two months ago, Premier and Tourism Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has announced that the National Tourism Plan is one of those projects that have been placed on hold.
Back in 2020, former Premier and Minister with senior responsibility for tourism, Andrew Fahie, had announced that the BVI would soon have a National Tourism Plan to govern the operations of that local industry.
At the time, the plan was under review before the House of Assembly. However, since then, talks surrounding the plan had gone silent and updates were few and far between.
When asked by BVI News as to the progress of the plan and when residents would be updated on it, Dr Wheatley noted the plan had gone before Cabinet for a decision on a tender.
“We did have a decision for Cabinet to award a tender that happened not too long ago, but we have placed that project on hold for right now,” Dr Wheatley stated.
In April of last year, the government released a 35-page document requesting for proposal to develop a National Tourism Plan for the future of the territory. However, the Premier said while this project is on hold, he will continue to work with members of the tourism industry on how to move forward.
“Of course, the persons at the Tourist Board do have strategic plans that we are moving forward with but until we move forward with that particular decision to move forward with that plan, we will work with our tourism officials at the Tourism Board in how we move forward,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Tourism Minister also highlighted that his government will look to fall back on the familiar tourism industry to help combat financial challenges the Virgin Islands is facing and aggressively raise revenues to improve the territory’s economy.
“We need to diversify our tourism product and diversify our economy,” Dr Wheatley said.
When former Premier Fahie had mentioned the National Tourism Plan, he had noted that there should have been one some time ago. However none was ever put it place. He added that the lack of a National Tourism Plan was causing officials in the sector to work blindly and there was a need to advance to the next level within the sector and the plan would have facilitated that.
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