After weeks of speculation and requests for statistics, the government has released official numbers collected from the BVI Gateway portal, giving the public an idea of how the territory’s tourism product is recovering amid the onset of COVID-19.
The official numbers were in a statement by Premier Andrew Fahie on December 24.
According to the statement, as of December 23, some 2,315 persons arrived in the BVI.
Of this number, 1,081 were tourists. This represents an approximate majority of 47 percent of the arrivals so far. The Premier further reported that 121 (roughly 5%) were work permit holders, and 466 (approximately 20%) were residents.
The Premier did not categorise the remaining 647 travellers.
“The interest has been high for persons wanting to come to the BVI and the outlook remains for a positive trend in 2021 as long as we maintain our control over the coronavirus situation on our shores,” Premier Andrew Fahie’s statement said.
Under normal circumstances, tourism contributes some 40 percent to the BVI’s annual Gross Domestic Product. But the industry took a major battering in 2020 because of COVID-19, which forced the government to close its borders for more than seven months.
Members of the public have also expressed concern about glitches within the BVI Gateway portal where travellers to the BVI must register before arrival. These glitches are reported to have deterred many persons who were hoping to travel to the BVI.
In his statement to the territory, Premier Fahie admitted that there “have been a few minor bumps during the roll-out”.
“This is not uncommon when you begin to transition theory into practice. We must remember COVID-19 did not come with a playbook and every country is writing its own playbook as they try to identify the protocols and processes that work in their unique situation,” Premier Fahie said.
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