Coming out of 2016, the BVI broke records welcoming more than one million visitors to its shores. But, when fast-forwarded to the disaster-riddled 2017, the territory recorded 387,922 fewer visitors compared to 2016 – which means that visitor arrivals dropped by 33 percent.
While delivering the 2018 Budget Address, the Premier released the figures detailing how each sector in the tourism industry was affected.
Dr. Smith said, “Cruise visitors decreased by 289,382 passengers, representing a 41 percent decline from 2016. Day trip visitors declined by 5,713 or 33 percent, and overnight visitors declined by 73,134 or 18 percent, taking us back to 2013 levels,”.
The Tourism Minister said that before the hurricanes, land accommodations were estimated at 2,700 rooms, but they fell to a miserable 336 at the start of March this year.
He said that land tourism will see ‘major resurgence’ by September this year when local villas and small properties are repaired and reopened.
Dr. Smith said, “Our larger properties will understandably take a longer time to be up and fully operational … hopefully in time for the 2019 season.”
He continued, “It is important to recognise that in 2018, other players in the industry will not sit idly by and wait for the British Virgin Islands to redevelop and regain its market share. So we must act swiftly and aggressively.”
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