The British Virgin Islands continues to see positive growth in the tourism industry with initial tourism figures for January to July 2016 showing an overall increase of 27.3 percent for all visitors, when compared to the same period in 2015.
Premier and Minister for Tourism, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE is pleased with the recent figures and stated, “The success rate is as a result of the collaborative effort where Government, businesses and the people are working together, and I thank BVI Tourist Board for their strategic marketing efforts in promoting our destination.”
Premier Smith added, “It must be noted that even with the closure of Rosewood Little Dix Bay, the Territory has still been able to experience growth, largely due to the successful implementation of various strategies by the BVI Tourist Board as a tactical response to counteract the decrease in accommodations inventory, including strong promotions in the areas of yachting and villa/vacation home rentals.”
The Premier encouraged tourism stakeholders to continue to do their part in “making sure that our visitors have the same memorable 'One BVI’ guest experience”.
“Let us ensure that they see why the US News and World Report have ranked the BVI as the Number One Best Place to Visit in the Caribbean; and why Travel + Leisure’s Annual World’s Best Awards has named Virgin Gorda as The Best Island in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas,” said the Honourable Premier.
Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Government of the Virgin Islands revealed that there were 280,876 overnight visitors to the Territory from January to July 2016, compared to 270,325 overnight visitors for the same period in 2015. This reflects a 3.9 percent increase in overnight visitors over that period.
The Territory welcomed 444,200 cruise visitors from January to July 2016, compared to 300,750 for the same period in 2015, an impressive 47.7 percent increase. Furthermore, the number of day-trippers to the Virgin Islands over the same period was 10,011 as compared to 6,427 for the same period in 2015. This represents an increase of 55.8 percent.
The data also reveals an additional 157,585 more travelers to the Territory in 2016 resulting in 735,087 total visitors when compared to 577,502 travelers for the same period in 2015.
Meanwhile, Director for the BVI Tourist Board, Ms. Sharon Flax-Brutus has attributed the growth to a number of initiatives including the BVI Tourist Board’s summer campaign strategy. In addition, the annual “Christmas in July” event that caters to the Puerto Rican market was a huge hit this year with bigger numbers travelling for the event, and many persons cruising around the islands before and after the main event.
The “Summer Sizzle” fashion show also saw an increase in persons travelling for the event. Furthermore, there were a number of visitors and returning residents that travelled for the annual Emancipation Festival Events which began earlier in July, given that August Monday was on August 1.
The Government of the Virgin Islands will continue to work with the people of the Territory, through the BVI Tourist Board and other industry stakeholders to ensure success of the sector and to promote the Territory as a premier travel destination.