Four months after two category 5 hurricanes smashed into the British Virgin Islands and wrecked the local tourism sector, hundreds of rooms on land and on sea are now occupied in the territory.
The sector is one of the main economic pillars and is said to have produced the highest number of job losses after the hurricanes.
“From initial assessments completed by BVI Tourist Board, they have reported that we do have in use, approximately 300 rooms across the territory, and approximately 800 berths on sea,” said Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr D Orlando Smith.
He made the announcement at a press conference yesterday and said assessments are ongoing.
“Though our tourism sector has been severely impacted by the storms, I am reassured by seeing the use of our villas and smaller properties, as well as our yachting industry to ensure that we can welcome guests and that our hospitality professionals are back out to work.”
Smith also said the BVI Tourist Board will continue its involvement throughout the industry by sponsoring key events such as the Miami Open tennis tournament scheduled for March.
“We will also be welcoming guests from around the world for the Second Annual Anegada Kite and Paddle Festival, also in March,” Dr Smith said.
The event features kitesurfing and standup paddleboarding competitions, downwind races, among things. Anegada’s kite festival was held in January last year.
Forum with yachting sector
The Premier also announced that a stakeholder forum is being planned with the operators of large properties and stakeholders in the yachting sector on January 26.
He said timelines for their reopening will be discussed at the forum.
The Premier said a substantial amount of progress is being undertaken on all the islands in the territory and said he is pleased with the headway being made to maintain the territory’s economy.
“It is very important that our destination remains a viable option for guests and that we maintain our presence in the industry,” the Premier said.