Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations
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Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has affirmed a renewed partnership with Virgin Islands’ tourism stakeholders.
Premier Wheatley, who is also the Territory’s tourism minister, told industry representatives at a meeting last Friday that the renewed partnership will be reflected in the composition of the new tourist board, which will return to sectoral representation of the industry.
“I see investment in the industry as a necessary reality to achieve a more sustainable economy,” the Premier said, adding, “You have a partner in me and my team. A partner who will sit with you, listen to you, collaborate with you, incorporate your ideas, and move swiftly to action on our shared agenda.”
The discussions covered key areas including marketing, sales and public relations; mega yacht and yachting sector recalibration; Government engagement and communication with the tourism sector; product development initiatives and enhancements; a national tourism strategic plan; and criteria for the selection of the members of the BVI Tourist Board.
Premier Wheatley said there is much work to be done to improve the Virgin Islands’ tourism product, especially as it relates to improving to the Territory’s infrastructure, providing reliable service from its utilities, keeping the BVI clean, and providing excellent customer service from key stakeholders, such as Immigration, Customs, the Labour Department, and other Government agencies.
“We must embody the mantra that tourism is everyone’s business,” he stressed.
Premier Wheatley said that the meeting was held to assert that Government recognises the importance of tourism. He added, “We will provide the attention and support to the industry which has been reflected, for instance, to financial services. As one of the two main pillars of the economy as a job creator and a revenue generator, I will ensure the tourism industry gets the love it deserves.”
The tourism minister also said he acknowledges the need to strengthen the provision of government services to the industry.
“We must communicate our rules, our protocols, our requirements clearly. We must streamline the processes which are unduly onerous. We must give value for money, and we cannot be expensive and inefficient. We must live up to what we advertise,” Premier Wheatley stated.
The Premier further added that the Government has been in discussions with different airlines to improve service to the Territory, specifically with providing direct airlift between Miami and the Virgin Islands. He said a report on the result of those discussions will be released shortly.
The tourism industry stakeholders meeting took place at Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda. Premier Wheatley was joined by the Representative for the Ninth District, Honourable Vincent Wheatley; Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Honourable Shereen D. Flax-Charles; Junior Minister for Tourism, Honourable Alvera Maduro-Caines; Chairperson of the BVI Tourist Board, Mrs. Kenisha Sprauve; Director of Tourism, Mr. Clive McCoy; Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt-Igwe; along with other Government officials and industry partners representing accommodations, sailing, culinary, cruise and other key sectors.
NOTES TO EDITOR(S): Photographs are attached.
Credit: Mr. Paul Bridgewater, GIS