As part of its aggressive North American promotional campaign, the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) has “sailed” into the South Florida area for a quartet of tradeshows and events. Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said, “Having high visibility in the marketplace confirms that we are ready to welcome both our loyal repeat guests, as well as new ones.”
The BVI Tourist Board (BVITB) leveraged the Territory’s reputation as the “Sailing Capital of the World”, when it exhibited at the 31st Annual Miami Yacht Show from February 15 to 19. The Board exhibited at this luxury yacht and superyacht show, with local marine sector partners including; Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Bitter End Yacht Club, YCCS and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina. Together they delivered the message that the BVI is “still sailing” communicating the impressive recovery of the Territory and its tourism industry. According to Sheroma Jacobs, Destination Manager for North America’s South-Eastern region, who represented the BVITB at the show, “We were able to interactively engage a number of repeat visitors as well as new guests.” She added that the patrons were very happy to see the BVI contingent at the show and the team gladly provided advice to groups who would be travelling to the Territory as early as February and March of this year.
BVI’s exciting culinary skills were the focus of the second show that BVITB attended, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF). The annual event which was held from February 21-25, is described as a national, star-studded event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and benefits the Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. The show provides an important opportunity to promote the vast culinary offerings of the BVI to the over 65,000 attendees including culinary experts, food and beverage industry professionals and food connoisseurs. The Territory showcased its wide variety of culinary experiences highlighted by the promotion of BVI Food Fete 2018. Held annually in November, BVI Food Fete is a month-long celebration of culinary events and activities throughout the island chain. It includes events presented by BVI food and beverage sector
partners and the Board’s anchor events, such as the Barefoot Gourmet Soiree, Jost Pork and the Anegada Lobster Festival.
The BVITB took advantage of the opportunity to allow SOBEWFF attendees to indulge in BVI cuisine first hand, by tasting samples and interacting with three of our award-winning local chefs who attended the event; Ariq Flax-Clarke, Lakeisha Barry and Davide Pugliese. Ariq, a student at renowned Johnson & Wales University School of Culinary Art’s North Miami campus, is a past winner of the BVI Junior Chef competition and a current member of the BVI National Culinary Team. He also received a silver medal for the Junior Chef of the Year for the annual CHTA event, Taste of the Caribbean, held in Miami last year. Ms. Barry is also a member of the BVI Culinary Team and an alumnus of Johnson & Wales University School of Culinary Arts. She also has her own catering business, “Kesha’s Treats”. Chef Davide Pugliese, the senior member of the team, is a highly respected and experienced chef and culinary consultant. He has owned and operated several restaurants including the Brandywine Bay Restaurant in Tortola. He still operates the Capriccio Del Mar restaurant in Road Town, Tortola.
Stop number three will feature the BVI Tourist Board, as a part of a local delegation attending the annual Seatrade Cruise Global at the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Centre from March 5 to 8. Seatrade, is the leading international exhibition and conference serving the cruise sector, bringing
together buyers and suppliers for networking, sourcing, innovation and education. The delegation will be led by the Ministry of Communications & Works along with representatives from Tortola Pier Park, BVI Ports Authority and private cruise sector partners. Following the September 2017 storms, the BVI reopened for cruise business in late November, with the first major call happening on December 6, 2017.
The last but definitely not the least stop on this “voyage” is the Miami Open, nicknamed the “Glam Slam” of tennis for the affluent spectators and celebrities in attendance. The BVITB will be promoting the destination at the event from March 19-26. Given the success of last year’s participation, the BVITB has returned as the exclusive Caribbean Destination Sponsor, and will be using a number of avenues to promote the Territory at this event. An exhibition booth, branded speed serve cage, hospitality suite, and targeted branding at major events, are some of the avenues the Territory will utilize for promotional exposure. Additionally, there will be prize giveaways at centre court during major matches. While in Miami, the Board will also engage in sales calls to top travel agents in the South Florida area. Once again, the BVITB will be partnering with Miami-based ride-sharing company Freebee to sponsor rides to select visitors to the Downtown Miami and Brickell areas, in BVI-branded Freebee vehicles. A video on the British Virgin Islands will be shown at the beginning of each trip and drivers and BVI Tourist Board staff members will be available to answer questions that riders have about the destination.
The Board will continue to carry out its promotions in North America, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Europe, to boost travel for Summer 2018 and Winter 2018/2019.