A request by the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB) for a $3.7 million increase to its annual allocation from the government has been approved.
Premier and Tourism Minister Andrew Fahie said during his recent budget address that the “total allocation for tourism will be $15 million at the end of this budgetary process”.
In April, the director of the statutory body, Sharon Flax-Brutus appealed to government through the Standing Finance Committee for the increase to their annual budget.
At the time, she said the BVITB’s annual budgetary allotment was at $10.5 million since she was appointed as the director more than six years ago.
By BVI News’s calculations, such an increase would have pushed the BVITB’s budget to a figure just more than $14 million.
Increasing local tourism facilities
During her successful pitch at the Standing Finance Committee, Flax-Brutus said the additional funds would be invested towards increasing the tourism facilities in all of the territory’s electoral districts.
As an example, she said the BVITB plans to liaise with stakeholders to get additional tours to the Eighth District, undertake signage, road works, among other things.
Flax-Brutis further said the board intends to seek ways to promote sports tourism by bringing in tournaments to the territory. However, sporting facilities will be needed for such an undertaking.
Plans for the money
In the meantime, Premier Fahie said among plans government will be exploring is new niche markets in Northern Europe and Canada in 2020.
The Tourism Minister said this is one of the strategies being implemented to promote and market the territory on a global scale as a tourist destination.
“We will continue to market to our core demographic in US and Canada, Regional Caribbean, Italy, Germany, France and Latin America, but we recognise it is also important to reach out to emerging markets. Our view is to start to gain ground in the Scandinavian as well as Canadian markets. Niche markets such as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, adventure, health and wellness as well as culinary and sports will be explored,” he said.
The Premier also said the BVITB would be employing greater use of technology via ‘search engine marketing strategies’ which involve using the web architecture of companies such as airlines and travel sites to promote the destination.
“This will be in addition to traditional marketing techniques,” Fahie said.
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