While highlighting the need for aggressive strategies to raise revenues for the territory’s economy, Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr Natalio Wheatley said his government is looking to fall back on the familiar tourism industry to help combat financial challenges the Virgin Islands is facing.
Dr Wheatley said his government has had lots of discussions on placing more focus on the tourism sector and how best to diversify it to attract more visitors to the territory.
He also admitted the Virgin Islands
is facing several challenges in the financial services sector and the tourism sector which are the two main pillars holding up the BVI’s economy.
“[These are] challenges we are able to overcome because we have been robust and resilient and certainly, we have done a good job in those sectors because we have been resilient and certainly, we need to diversify our tourism product and diversify our economy,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Tourism Minister said visitors have also spoken about making it easier to come to the BVI as currently, there are no direct flights from major tourist markets to the territory.
“That is providing airlift to the BVI, direct flights from the United States of America and we see the impact that has had on other jurisdictions. Dominica and Anguilla are just being a few that recently added direct airlift from the United States of America,” Dr Wheatley said.
“We’d also see if we can attract investments to build some properties here that can help us when we have things such as event tourism … We want to do sports tourism and have a property where persons can come and stay,” the Premier added.
The Tourism Minister clarified that he is not indicating he is displeased with the properties here but he admitted there are not enough beds to accommodate all the visitors that want to come to the BVI and boost the growth of the tourism sector.
“There are a lot of great ideas, but I think it is time for us to implement those ideas and aggressively raise revenues because as you have said, we have quite a lot of financial challenges,” Dr Wheatley stated.