Amid concerns that the BVI has lost some yachts to neighboring jurisdictions, local stakeholders are taking steps to recapture sailors as the global yachting sector continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent delegation from the territory sought to create waves of interest from prospective buyers and visitors at the Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) that took place in October.
The delegation had representatives from the Virgin Islands
Shipping Registry (VISR), the BVI Tourist Board, and BVI Finance. The delegation said the BVI booth saw thousands of visitors each exhibition day.
Director of VISR John Samuel stated: “The BVI’s participation in FLIBS is important because it is the first post-COVID
show of its kind, and it reminded the maritime industry that the BVI is open for business and the Virgin Islands
is ready to serve.”
Samuel also explained the importance of the role of VISR and a collaborative approach to attending shows and networking events stating, “the collaborative aspect to the attendance of the shows allows all questions posed to be easily answered by each attending agency. It also helps with the creation of a strong team, with the ability to bring not only maritime but a larger variety of business to the BVI.”
The BVI’s yachting sector suffered major blows in COVID
-19 as the government’s strict pandemic restrictions pushed cruisers to less restrictive countries in the Caribbean and other regions.
The extended border closure also caused some damage to the BVI’s reputation.
At that time, multiple local charter companies had sailed their boats to “bluer waters” in a bid to pick up business and stop the financial haemorrhaging.