Following through with his promise to reopen the BVI on a phased basis, Premier Andrew Fahie has said Terrance B Lettsome International Airport will be the first to reopen on December 1, when the territory starts to accept visitors to its shores.
In an interview with ZBVI earlier this week, Premier Fahie said the BVI’s seaports will remain closed until the government puts proper systems and protocols in place to accommodate visitors who travel by sea.
“When you’re taking such a calculated risk to reopen your tourism product, you don’t want to open everything where it can’t be managed one time. So we are doing a phased reopening of the different borders. But we are starting with the airport and within the following weeks we will be able to give a full schedule of how the rest will be reopened,” Fahie said.
He added that although most tourists travel to the BVI by sea, it’s important to reopen the airport first as it offers a very controlled environment where systems and protocols can be properly tested and used at other ports of entry.
“Certain lessons we learn from that (reopening the airport). We’ll know how to deal with the seaports. Our seaports, as you know, are wide open. So we have to make sure the protocols we put in place for that are close to perfect because we have to ensure that we do not import cases,” Fahie explained.
Reopening is a calculated risk
With COVID-19 still a global threat, Premier Fahie said the government will start doing test-runs at the airport in mid-November.
This, he said, is to ensure all the safety procedures and protocols work well.
“We want to make sure that we take as calculated a risk to reopen our tourism product without compromising our safety when it comes to COVID-19 because we only have 8 ventilators. We have to make sure we reduce risks … because there is always a risk involved once you open your borders to the tourism product,” Premier Fahie said.
Amid public criticism that the government has no comprehensive plan for the territory’s reopening of tourism on December 1, Premier Andrew Fahie this week announced a series of meetings scheduled to engage tourism stakeholders ahead of that date.
The meetings will be held virtually over the next two weeks and hosted by officials of the BVI Tourist Board.
Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.