Tourism stakeholders and some residents last evening declared openly that they are impressed with the relatively large number of people visiting Virgin Gorda this weekend to participate in the golden anniversary of the Easter festival on the island.
Education minister Myron Walwyn, who also is a hotelier, stated that virtually all rooms have been filled with guests attending the three-day event.
“Getting a room on Virgin Gorda [is] just about impossible. This reminds us that this festival continues to be a very important economic stimulus for Virgin Gorda and the entire Virgin Islands,” he said.
The culture minister added, “As we gather this weekend, I encourage all of us to be welcoming of the persons traveling from the region and further away to celebrate with us. Let us continue to demonstrate the warm and friendly spirit of the people of the territory.”
Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus, in the meantime, said a number of the visitors she has seen are British Virgin Islanders who live abroad, but have returned home for the festivities.
“As director of tourism of these beautiful islands, I am energized that so many visitors have joined us for the celebration. I am even more excited to welcome Virgin Gordians who live abroad who have come home for the celebration.”
“I urge you to enjoy the festival celebrations; enjoy Virgin Gorda; tour Virgin Gorda. Even those of you who live here, look at Virgin Gorda in a new and special light. We are indeed nature’s little secret and we are one BVI,” the tourism director further said during the launch of the Easter festival.
Virgin Gorda resident Grace Flax Walters, who chaired the Easter festival opening ceremony, said she too has taken note of the many people who are visiting as a result of the festivities.
She appealed to British Virgin Islands natives living abroad to come home more often, instead of wait to do so only on special occasions.
“I was delighted and excited to see so many people who haven’t been here for years. I am just saying to myself ‘my God I wish we could be celebrating this every year and try to bring home everybody…”
“I want to say welcome home, but we don’t have to wait for festival. Come as often as you can because there is no place like it. I don’t care what anybody tells me, Virgin Gorda is your home; come home as often as you can and enjoy it,” added Flax Walters.
In the meantime, premier and minister responsible for tourism Dr D Orlando Smith urged business-people and other residents of Virgin Gorda to ensure visitors are made to feel at home.
“As minister of tourism, I am delighted to extend a very special welcome to all those who have joined us for the golden jubilee Easter festival celebration in Virgin Gorda. This weekend, as we celebrate, I take this opportunity to urge each businessperson to put their best on display for the world to see,” Premier Smith further said.