As the sun made its way down the horizon and the second day of the ninth annual Anegada Lobster Festival came to a close, there was a growing sense from stakeholders that the event went well.
Representative of the Ninth District where Anegada is located, Vincent Wheatley, said the weekend festival was particularly successful for the local economy.
“We’ve seen success in pretty much all the establishments. We’ve seen record sales, particularly on Lobster. The bars have been making money, the drinks making money, food is making money. We are here at the Anegada Reef Hotel and the place is crowded so clearly, the economy is working right now because of Lobster Fest. There are lots of boats- private boats, ferry boats and barges. So, I’m pleased with the turnout and I’m happy for Anegada because our economy is finally starting to turn around,” Wheatley said.
“I’m also very pleased that people have been moving around. I, too, did not stay in one place. I moved from business to business and wherever I went I kinda saw the same people so they were circling. That’s what Lobster Fest is really all about. It’s a ‘discover Anegada activity’. So, I think it’s working. Next year is the tenth anniversary and I think it will be really good. This is the first real Lobster Fest in two years. I’m so looking forward to it and hopefully, we’ll have COVID behind us by then,” the Ninth District Representative added.
Director of Tourism at the BVI Tourist Board and Film Commission (BVITB) Clive McCoy shared similar sentiments as Wheatley. McCoy said Saturday started off slowly as in previous years. However, the restaurants that participated in the festival said they were thankful for the level of business they have received over the two days and described the event as a great kick-off to the tourism season.
“Everything has been good, of course, Sunday is usually the busier day so we usually see more traffic here which is really, really good for the Anegada community who has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we are really happy to see an injection of revenue to this community as a result of the Anegada Lobster Fest. But everything has been going really well. We haven’t had any incidents which is always a blessing. We have had full support from the police, Immigration, ports Authority,” he said.
Heavy foot traffic
The foot traffic emerging from the ferry docks and the countless private boats that were bobbing in Anegadian waters confirmed the sentiments of the two government officials.
This traffic was welcomed by the assistant manager at Lobster Trap, Vernika Walters. The manager said the restaurant reopened for the first time eight days ago after it was devastated by Hurricane Irma back in 2017. She further said management was using the Lobster Festival to advertise her establishment. The businesswoman further said she hopes to welcome more visitors in the future.
“This is a new and improved restaurant. We are just really excited to see locals and foreigners alike in our restaurant and partake in what we have to give. There was a steady flow of people coming and going yesterday. But today is jam-packed and it is just the afternoon. We expect the night to even be more packed,” Walters said.
With the Anegada Lobster Festival over and assessed as being largely successful, the Tourist Board is looking forward to the next event on its BVI Food Fete calendar — the Fish and Fungi Frenzy. That event is slated for December 30, in Jost Van Dyke.
This will be the first-ever staging of the event.
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