REMARKS BY PREMIER AND MINISTER OF FINANCE,
HONOURABLE ANDREW A. FAHIE
REOPENING OF THE TERRANCE B. LETTSOME INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
MONDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER, 2020
Reopening of the T. B. Lettsome International Airport
We Are Ready for You
Good day and God’s Blessings to everyone.
It is a very exciting day for our Territory, as we witness our main airport Terrance B. Lettsome International; open its doors on the eve of the reopening of our borders to nationals, visitors, family and friends.
About two months ago, I stood on a platform similar to this one to re-launch our BVILOVE brand and to announce the date for Phase III of the reopening of the British Virgin Islands borders after its closure to visitors to protect the lives of our residents from the COVID-19 virus.
I take this time to ask you to give all our health workers, the Cabinet, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Health, the Governor, the Governor’s Group, Deputy Governor, all of them; the HEOC, give them a round of applause. All our agencies, law enforcement, for how we have been able to handle COVID-19. It was truly a team effort and once we work as a team we always achieve more.
Can I remind you that on that day I explained that the mantra of BVILOVE was an expression of your Government’s mission to create a green BVI where all residents and all people love living Green. This would be reflected in the way we live, work and invest in the BVI – caring for our BVI because we love our British Virgin Islands.
I also stated that, BVILOVE is our brand which simple means ‘Love Our Virgin Islands Every day.’
BVILOVE is goodwill that we have built up and it is something that is in our hand—in fact BVILOVE is in our DNA.
BVILOVE is our smile, our good mornings, our good afternoons, our prayers, our hospitality. BVILOVE is who we are as a people.
In everything we do we must aim for excellence – and we do it because we love our BVI. To illustrate this we have undergone a series of rebranding from the BVI Ports Authority’s brand to the BVI Airports Authority’s brand and changes to protect your health and safety.
In preparation for this moment of us welcoming you to our home with BVILOVE the changes we have made will reflect that WE ARE READY FOR YOU.
How ready you ask?
The Government of the Virgin Islands has taken a brief hiatus to ensure that we implement health and safety protocols to keep you and our residents safe. We have strategically revised our legislations, improved our medical facilities with equipment, human resources and other tools needed to ensure that we are equipped to manage your health. WE ARE READY FOR YOU.
Your health and safety remains our number one priority and as such, our people have made adjustments to the way we do business. Our establishments now have washing/sanitisation stations, physical distancing markers; and masks/shields are required on entry. WE ARE READY FOR YOU.
Our ports of entry and other high trafficked public spaces, have improved their infrastructure to include contact-less services, hands free-automated doors, protection barriers and more. WE ARE READY FOR YOU.
Most enthusiastic about welcoming back our visitors and friends are our Tourism partners and hospitality businesses. I am proud to say that most of these businesses are now Gold Seal Certified and are trained to give world-class safe service during this COVID-19 era. WE ARE READY FOR YOU.
Our visitors will experience an authentic BVILOVE welcome from the tarmac to their quarantine site. The Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport’s newly constructed welcome centre which was done by or people is the advent of the visitors welcome experience and is designed with a lounge, swabbing stations, isolation rooms, and many other rooms; restrooms and more, where in the restroom as we have stated that you don’t even have to touch anything, just put you hand on the area and the door opens; everything is touch-less in the restrooms, just about.
Travellers will be cared for with BVILOVE from Immigration and Customs to their respective taxi and livery services. Each enhancement was made carefully with your experience in mind.
I want to personally congratulate the Chairman of the BVI Airports Authority, Mr. Bevis Sylvester and his team for making the tough yet well thought out decisions and Managing Director of the BVI Airport Authority, Mr. Clive Smith for the implementation and execution. Let’s give them all a round of applause. Each visitor who arrives through this facility will definitely experience a warm BVI welcome as a result of your hard work and dedication and among many other members of our team during the last few months.
As Minister for Tourism, let me say that even though the entry process has changed, our product remains the same. The British Virgin Islands still boasts cobalt blue waters, white sandy beaches, luscious green hills, and trade winds that are unmatched throughout the world.
Signature attractions are on our four main islands and the many other unique experiences found throughout our entire chain of islands. We have an amazing combination of pleasurable activities, unforgettable sightseeing adventures, nature-induced relaxation and tasty cuisine, at each stop.
There have been improvements to our product too during this New Regular.
We have embraced and enhanced our technology which will make your business dealings more convenient. Our local entrepreneurs have grown more innovative adding new offerings to the BVILOVE experience such as hikes, walking tours, a wide range of water sports activities, sip and paint, and new culinary experiences, to name a few. These improvements are continual and we have much more to offer including large hotels and villas coming back on stream.
To my elected colleagues, members of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, HEOC, my Government members, the Reopening Steering Committee, Public Health officials, Immigration, Customs, BVI Ports Authority, Deputy Governor’s Office, BVI Airports Authority, the Cabinet, the Governor and his Group, Premier’s Office, Public Officers, Ministry of Health, HLSCC, BVI Tourist Board, the business and Tourism communities, and many others especially the people of the Virgin Islands, we have made it to another milestone of this journey. I want to thank you all for your hard work and unwavering support during this New Regular.
To our residents, I want to say special thank you for your endurance, your adherence to all the measures that have been put in place over the last eight months and more to allow the BVI to be as safe as is humanly possible. So I want all the people, all residents of the BVI whether you are a local, work permit holder, whoever that has been here with us for all those months, give yourself even online a round of applause because of you we have today. Give yourself a round of applause.
As you our visitors prepare to return, rest assured that we have taken the time out to thoroughly prepare for you, for your safety and for ours and we can’t wait to receive you our visitors with BVILOVE. WE ARE READY and we hope that you are ready too. BVI LOVE awaits you from December 1st and beyond.