Damage Over $3B In Tourism; Closed To Visitors Until Nov.

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | October 12, 2017 1:06 pm MDT
Photo Credit: Caribbean Buzz Helicopters
Hurricane Irma has left the BVI's tourism industry, one of the main economic pillars, in over $3B in damage. This is according to Sharon Flax Brutus, Director of Tourism, who said that the BVI will not be opened to welcoming visitors/tourists until next month.

"Preliminary assessment puts damage to the tourism sector at over 3 billion dollars. After initial assessment of our tourism product on the main islands, as well as the private islands, we determined that the British Virgin Islands would have to implement a phased approach to bring the islands back to the vibrant tourist destination they were," she said.

The Tourism Director said that to ensure that their recovery and cleanup efforts are maximized, BVI is not open to guests for the month of October.

"This gives us the opportunity to complete assessments and continue repairs on yachts, land side accommodations, attractions, beaches as well as the critical infrastructure such as light, power, airports and seaports, which are essential to the enjoyment of our visitor."

She said, "During this time, we welcome relief workers only who would have secured previous permission and gained authorization from our authorities."

Flax Brutus explained that the three airports are open for commercial business, "and we will begin to welcome guests to our destination November 1, 2017."

The yachting sector will be the first to open for business.

"I am proud to be able to announce that our first guests will be welcomed at Nanny Cay Marina beginning November 5th when the BVI Charter Yacht Society Boat Show gives yacht brokers an opportunity to view the yachts that sail our waters, as well as experience what their guests enjoy while in the British Virgin Islands."

Many marinas are open and several charter companies will be opened for the season.

"We urge persons who are holding reservations to reach out to their charter operator for specific information or to contact us at the BVITB. I am also happy to share that the 47th anniversary of the BVI Sailing Regatta will take place as planned on March 26th to April 1st, 2018."

Anegada will be ready to receive guests at some of their properties beginning November 1, 2017. To this end, the BVITB will host the Anegada Lobster Festival as scheduled on November 25th and 26th.

She also spoke of the other islands recovery plans including Virgin Gorda and also the private islands resorts and hotels.
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