The Premier disclosed this prediction at a forum hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) where countries discussed solutions for economic progress post-COVID-19.
“While the tourism sector remains at the very early stages of recovery after a border closure of nine months, we estimate that the tourism sector, and the wider economy, will make a modest recovery within the next 12 to 18 months,” Premier Fahie told the forum.
He added: “This is welcome news for us (the BVI) after a GDP decline of 18% in 2020.”
Premier Fahie also pointed out that the BVI’s post-COVID recovery will depend on the vaccination of the community.
“Within the next two months, we hope to have 70 per cent of the population vaccinated. This will significantly improve the social outlook of the society and allow all of our students to return to school. Beyond the education sector, reaching the 70 per cent vaccination threshold will allow the society to begin to resume normal social interaction,” Premier Fahie explained.
He added that the BVI has built a good foundation on which to accelerate the growth of the economy, adding he believes other countries can take lessons from the BVI’s handling of the economy.
“We reopened the tourism sector for businesses on 1st December 2020 under robust health and entry protocols, including a testing regime of three tests and quarantine. These include a test before arrival, a test upon arrival and a test after quarantine of four days. This system has proven incredibly successful in netting and isolating cases of COVID-19 before infection can spread to the local community. A final test is required before departure from the islands. We believe our model may provide good insights and lessons for other economies that also rely heavily on tourism,” Premier Fahie said.
Premier Fahie’s statements on the outlook of the economy come amid news that the government will be reopening its cruise port to ships in the next three months.
The positive economic outlook also comes amid criticism that the extended closure of the marine borders will damage the BVI’s reputation as a tourism destination in the Caribbean.