While stressing the need for aggressive strategies to boost revenue for the territory’s economy, Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said his government was looking to fall back on the familiar tourism industry to help combat the financial challenges facing the Virgin Islands.
Dr Wheatley said his government had had many discussions to put more emphasis on the tourism sector and how best to diversify it to attract more visitors to the territory.
He also admitted that the Virgin Islands faces several challenges in the financial services sector and the tourism sector, which are the two main pillars of the BVI economy.
“[These are] challenges that we are able to overcome because we have been robust and resilient and certainly we have done a good job in these sectors because we have been resilient and certainly we need to diversify our tourism product and diversify our economy,” said Dr. Wheatley.
The Minister of Tourism said visitors have also spoken of facilitating access to the BVI as currently there are no direct flights from major tourist markets to the territory.
“It provides air transport to the BVI, direct flights from the United States of America and we see the impact it has had on other jurisdictions. Dominica and Anguilla are just a few that have recently added direct air travel from the United States of America,” Dr Wheatley said.
“We would also see if we can attract investment to build properties here that can help us when we have things like event tourism… We want to do sports tourism and have a property where people can come and stay,” added the Prime Minister. .
The Minister of Tourism clarified that he was not indicating he was unhappy with the properties here, but he admitted that there were not enough beds to accommodate all the visitors who want to come to the BVI and boost the growth of the tourism sector.
“There are a lot of good ideas, but I think it’s time for us to implement those ideas and aggressively grow revenue because, as you said, we have a lot of financial challenges,” he said. said Dr. Wheatley.
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