Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr Natalio Wheatley has indicated that the territory’s 2022/2023 tourist is off to a strong start.
Statistics comparing the start of this tourist season with the last suggest that visitor arrivals saw a major increase.
“Incoming visitors for November 2022 totalled 17,523 compared to 10,759 in 2021 … Incoming visitors for Dec 2022 totalled 23,427 compared to 18,098 in 2021,” said Dr Wheatley who also noted that considerably more locals returned home during the period.
“Incoming Belongers totalled 5,834 in November 2022 compared to 2,986 in 2021… and incoming belongers totalled 7,223 in December 2022 compared to 4,984 in 2021. We saw a lot of activity, especially during the holiday period,” the Premier stated.
Dr Wheatley noted that the increased arrivals were evidenced at the heavy traffic seen at local air and sea ports.
“The Terrance B Lettsome International Airport was very busy with flights coming in and going out. We saw a lot of jets parked at the airport. The sea port in Road Town was also very busy. The Old Years parties at Trellis Bay, Jost Van Dyke and other venues attracted huge crowds, particularly compared to recent years,” the Premier stated.
He added that Tourism Director Clive McCoy advised that “this year we will continue to see a lot events on the calendar”.
“These are going to get bigger and better as recovery in the global tourism and travel sectors continue following the COVID
-19 pandemic and the economic impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Dr Wheatley stated.
He added: “The Director has also advised that the BVI Tourist Board will be focusing as well on training in hospitality and other related areas in the industry, especially to improve customer service and visitor experience; and this will be possible as the tourist board has been allocated approximately $10 million in the 2023 budget.”