BVI News

National Tourism Plan on hold

This ‘BVI’ sculpture is located at the Cyril B Romney Tortola Pier Park.

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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13 Comments

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  1. No plan says:

    So you can put no plan on hold? , that’s clever

    Like 18
    • agree says:

      in order to put it on hold, it had to start in the first place…wat a ting…now our junior minister for tourism now get promoted to senior minister for education…and our junior minister for education (wid andrew everybody else was junior) get promoted to premier and minister for tourism. send help lawd…send help

      Like 14
      • Hotelier says:

        Wedo not need any putside bodies designing a tourist plan, we can do it ourselves.

        First we need to ask some fundamental questions

        Do we want tourists?

        If so what kind and how many ?

        Do we want 2 million cruise ship passengers spending $25 per head or 500,000 Charterers and hotel guests spending $5000 per head.

        Do we really want mass tourism with wide bodied planes landing direct from The US and Europe? And the infrastrucrture cost of that.

        Do we want more work permit holders to come to BVI to support a bigger tourist industry . ?

        Answer those kind of questions then design a plan.

        Like 15
        • Roger Burnett says:

          The very same questions were raised at a conference I hosted 40 years ago for those involved in all aspects of tourism. The answers were totally in favour if niche tourism and against mass tourism.

          Even in the 1980’s when it was only one cruise ship visit a week, my art gallery, together with a few other venues in Road Town, made that day our closing day. If you were not selling tee shirts, it was not worth opening.

  2. Falling back says:

    So to be precise “ we’re falling back on moving forward” there’s nothing like a good plan

    Like 17
  3. Roger Burnett says:

    I have learnt to be wary of “next levels” in the Caribbean, and in particular when they relate to tourism.

    Unfortunately, the next level usually means further depletion of an island’s intrinsic identity: a step down rather than a step up; demeaning rather than enhancing.

    The BVI had the right balance of visitors in the early 1980’s, when YES, THEY WERE DIFFERENT.

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
  4. Unnecessary says:

    Cruise ship and charter boat companies control tourism in the BVI. Land tourism has deteriorated to domestic staycations. No tourist plan or Tourist Board is needed in the future.

    Like 7
    Dislike 3
  5. Pandora's Box says:

    Is this the ‘top secret’ plan our beloved former Premier talked so fondly about? The one that would catapult us ahead of all other competition!

    Like 10
  6. We are the BVI (sarcasm) says:

    The plan was to ‘award’ the Tourism Campaign to a UK company to write and implement…
    This is not how you do an advertising campaign. I worked in New York in Advertising for 30 years. The way 99% of companies do it:
    1) issue a request for proposal submission with the things you are looking to do with the Ad campaign and how much money you want to spend to do that.
    2) Ad agencies and Marketing companies then pitch the BVI Government with their ideas on how they would go about it (as well as examples of other work they have done). This is done at the expense of the companies looking for the job. They pitch this in person and leave behind document for the client to use to decide.
    3) the BVI then looks at all the offerings and then awards the business to the company that BEST fits.
    NO ONE AWARDS ADVERTISING AND MARKETING MONEY WITHOUT A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (unless the system is corrupt)

    Like 16
  7. lmao says:

    I mean… it been on hold… there is no plan… at first the story was it was a secret plan so we don’t lose our “strategic advantage” then the story was its Sharie job to make a plan (that should have already existed but it secret)… story change again we hiring a outside firm to make one… now it on hold? this thing never existed in the first place so everything safe.

  8. refund says:

    we going to get a refund from that PR firm that was employed to help save tourism after the bad press of the CoI… not seen them do anything as yet

  9. Note says:

    PLEASE NOTE:
    99% of our visitors love the BVI because of its NATURAL BEAUTY.
    If we want tourists here, we need to properly protect the last of the untouched nature we have.
    Too many people want the kind of tourism that makes a quick but for a bishop and his friends but destroys our nature to do it – land fill, hotel building, mangrove and reef destruction.
    If we don’t acknowledge that the basis our tourism is NATURE we won’t have any lasting tourism.
    Too many of us associate protecting nature with oppressing BVIslanders who want to pour more concrete. Don’t listen to those short term people. Listen to the market, or lose it.

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