Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism Honourable Dr. Natalio Wheatley said he is expecting overwhelming success from the annual Christmas in July event this weekend.
The Premier stated that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands enjoy a strong mutually beneficial partnership that was especially demonstrated during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. He said Christmas in July, and the Territory’s engagement with the Puerto Rican market, is particularly important as the tourism “slow season” approaches.
“This event signals a significant injection into the economy and further diversification of the Virgin Islands tourism product,” Premier Wheatley said. He added, “I am happy that a wide cross-section of our society will be positively impacted, including hoteliers, taxi service providers, restaurateurs, and cultural artisans.”
As a part of a promotional strategy, Premier Wheatley and Director of the BVI Tourist Board Mr. Clive McCoy attended a full-moon party at the VIVO Beach Club in Puerto Rico last month, in efforts to invite persons to the Virgin Islands to participate in the three days of activities to be hosted from Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department is committed to fully utilising its resources to ensure effective processing of the expected tourists.
Chief Immigration Officer Mr. Ian Penn stated, “The Immigration Department stands ready to manage the influx of boaters for the yearly Christmas in July gathering and celebrations in Virgin Gorda.
Mr. Penn added, “Officers will be out in full force at the ports of entries. In addition, working hours have been extended to accommodate the demand. I am confident that the boaters will have an excellent experience this year.”
Last year, approximately 400 boats and 4,000 visitors were involved in the festivities aimed at celebrating and commemorating our colourful Virgin Islands culture. Events like Christmas in July are particularly significant since they are critical in meeting the out-of-season demand. Ultimately, this contributes to positioning the Virgin Islands as an exemplary year-round tourist destination.
Christmas in July is in its 11th year and is a distinct tradition that has been ingrained in local culture and continues to stimulate cooperation between regional partners. The event is characterised by elements of festival culture, including an abundance of entertainment, leisure activities, socialising, unique experiences, and partaking in local cuisine.
The event attracts hundreds of boaters, and thousands of participants who partake in the activities that culminates in Pond Bay, Virgin Gorda. Residents are encouraged to attend Christmas in July to contribute to its success.
The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to advancing and promoting the tourism sector as a major economic contributor through maintaining strategic partnerships with stakeholders, in a manner that is consistent with the National Sustainable Development Plan.