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Premier and Minister for Tourism Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has hailed the recent X-Mas in July event as a “major success” and said these types of events contribute to the Territory’s changing tourism ‘off’ season.
Premier Wheatley commended the organisers, BVI Tourist Board (local and Puerto Rican offices), Marcos Rivera and Wally Castro Marine for the successful event, which attracted approximately 400 boats and 4,000 patrons.
The Premier also expressed gratitude to the various Government departments including Immigration and Her Majesty’s Customs for facilitating entry into the Territory, along with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services Department, and Virgin Islands Search and Rescue for helping to ensure that the event was incident-free.
Premier Wheatley said, “Many will agree that the event was a major success as a result of the partnership of the BVI Tourist Board and our tourism industry partners.”
Director of BVI Tourist Board, Mr. Clive McCoy also thanked industry partners stating, “A hearty thank you goes out to all of our stakeholders, especially the Virgin Gorda community that helped make Christmas in July a rousing success!”
Meanwhile, Premier Wheatley delivered an update on Virgin Islands tourism at the Sixth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on July 21.
In his address, the Premier stated that the tourism off-season is changing and that this can be attributed to events like X-Mas in July, One VI Poker Run, BVI Summer Sizzle and the BVI Emancipation celebrations.
The Honourable Premier said, “Tourism Industry Partners (TIPs) are reporting positive guest numbers as far down as September - where normally the season traditionally slowed down in May or June.”
The Virgin Islands welcomed over 202,000 visitors over the first four months of 2022. These comprised 140,000 cruise visitors, 60,268 overnight guests, and 1,949 day-trippers. The numbers the Premier said illustrate that BVI Tourism continues to have a healthy resurgence.
In the meantime, Director McCoy said the Tourist Board is feverishly preparing for the start of the upcoming peak season, which promises to be as analysts have predicted, “a return to pre COVID-19 travel patterns.”
The VI Tourist Board was established under (CAP 280) of the Tourist Board Ordinance under the portfolio of the Premier’s Office. The board’s role is to foster the sustainable development of tourism in the Virgin Islands.
Junior Minister for Tourism and Representative for the Sixth District Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines, Representative for the Ninth District Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley, Deputy Premier, Minister for Communications and Works and Representative for the Fifth District Honourable Kye Rymer, and Premier of the Virgin Islands and Representative for the Seventh District Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley. (Photo credit: Facebook)