The Premier was speaking during an update on the tourism sector via a live televised broadcast yesterday, June 15, 2021.
“Since we began the managed reopening of our borders to international travellers in December 2020, we have received over 20,500 persons coming into the BVI – and these numbers continue to grow daily,” he said.
“At the Road Town Ferry Dock, which began receiving persons entering via the ferries from St Thomas on April 15, 2021, approximately 5,000 arrivals were recorded in total. For the first eight days of June alone, more than 1,600 arriving passengers were received in total.”
Premier Fahie said the vast majority of these persons were tourists, and their arrival would have translated into economic opportunities for taxi drivers, tour operators, charter companies, hotels and accommodations, restaurants, and the economy as a whole.
The Premier stated that for the entire month of May, arrivals at the seaport totalled just over 2,500 persons, adding that “So, you can see the dramatic increase in the numbers as we have been gradually easing the conditions for entering the Territory – as we did last month with the reduction of the BVI Gateway application fee and the quarantine periods for fully vaccinated persons.”
The Territory’s Leader said he is expecting the arrival numbers to increase.
“We are mindful that a number of places where people would usually travel from to enjoy the BVI, they too are either on lockdown or have limited curfew due to COVID-19 cases. Once things change, we look forward to seeing our number grow even more. I am pleased to say that the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport has been receiving visitors since the beginning of December 2020. From December 2020 to May 2021, an average of 2,400 arrivals were recorded at the airport on a monthly basis. Total arrivals in May 2021 was 3,012 persons.”
He added that for the first eight days of June, 1,225 arriving passengers have been received already at the airport.
“The trend over the past six months has been that upwards of 70 per cent of arrivals have been tourists. In the last three months, the trend has been where tourists made up over 80 per cent of all arriving passengers at the airport. This means that of the 15,460-plus persons who entered the BVI via the airport since December 2020, more than 11,500 of them were tourists – and for the first eight days of June alone, about 1,000 tourists would have come into the BVI,” he remarked.
The Tourism Minister pointed out that several boats have been seen in Jost Van Dyke, Anegada and Tortola, and businesses are seeing an uptick over the past week.
“These positives are happening because we have stayed the course during the pandemic. This has not been by accident; of course, this only reaffirms what we already know—GOD is with us, and we should continue to see positive results as long as we continue exercising the necessary caution while we manage the full reopening of the tourism industry. The BVI remains one of the most popular, most loved, and most sought after travel destination in the world.”
Premier Fahie added that it is clear the territory made the right decisions in the handling of this pandemic.
The VI government's management of the pandemic has been hailed by regional leaders.
Its response to COVID-19 was also presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a model for the Eastern Caribbean.
There has only been 1 death from COVID-19 in the territory, which currently has 2 recorded active cases of COVID-19, according to an update on June 15, 2021.