The current state of the BVI’s infrastructure will not allow for mass tourism, Works Minister Kye Rymer has said.
While making that admission during a press conference held late last week, Rymer said he felt the BVI was more of a luxury destination.
“I’m not sure that we have spoken or agreed that we would invite mass tourism into our territory, and if that’s the case, definitely, our infrastructure would not be able to accommodate having mass tourism in terms of our road infrastructure at this juncture,” Rymer said.
The minister also pointed to the BVI’s water infrastructure which he admitted is also aging. He said officials are working to ensure the territory’s road network is brought up to par through the recent purchase of an asphalt plant.
Rymer also acknowledged that there have been setbacks since that purchase. He noted that at the time of the purchase, officials were unable to get the equipment commissioned because of the COVID
-19 pandemic which prevented the company from entering the territory to perform installation services.
Since then, the minister said officials have put things in place with the equipment and have purchased a new paver, a new roller and various things to ensure that the territory’s infrastructure would be able to accommodate persons coming to the territory.
Meanwhile, in a prepared statement, Rymer said the BVI received some 700,000 cruise passengers in 2016 and earned an estimated $55 million – with an average passenger spend of $78 per passenger per day. The minister said this was based on research conducted by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA).
Since then, the minister said the average passenger spend has increased to $107 per passenger and suggested that, with the same number of passengers arriving in the territory, the BVI will likely be looking at potentially earning $75 million from cruise tourism alone.