The Premier made the announcement at an update on current affairs this afternoon, May 26, 2021, when he said loyal visitors continue to make VI their destination of choice.
The Virgin Islands had reopened its borders in a phased approach, starting with the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in December 2020 and the seaports in April 2021.
“Since we implemented entry protocols for both air and seaports, the number of visitors coming to the BVI has been increasing contrary to the mischief that is being spread by some.
“Our loyal tourist visitors are coming to the BVI because the BVI is their preferred and loved destination.”
In terms of air arrivals since December 2020, the Premier said some 13,830 persons arrived via the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island, 10,119 of which were non-residents under arrival protocols.
For May 2021, he said the VI welcomed 2,261 arrivals at the airport, of whom 1,814 persons were non-residents. There have also been 973 arrivals at Road Town Ferry Dock for May.
Since the re-opening of seaports to international passengers in Mid-April 2021, the VI has received 1,364 international arrivals at the Road Town Ferry dock, he said.
According to the Premier, the visitors have also brought economic benefits to the territory, such as opportunities for accommodation providers and benefits for taxi operators, charter operators, restaurants, bars and various other businesses.
Premier Fahie reminded that decisions regarding passenger loads for ferry service between the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and the VI are not decisions that can be taken alone by the Virgin Islands. He said the decisions are in coordination with the USVI, who are working with their own protocols and constraints.
The VI Government has been engaging with their counterparts in the USVI to further increase the capacity per trips and said it will work on additional negotiations with the USVI to bring just over 100 persons per trip.
“As we go through these processes, we are also assessing how our systems are working, how they need to be adjusted and what additional resource needs can be projected to handle the demands looking down the road,” he said.
The Premier said the objective for both the USVI and VI is to ensure that adequate protocols, measures and resources are put in place for everything to run efficiently and effectively.