Operating At A Loss, National Parks Trust Aiming To Increase Fees
Bemoaning that the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI) has been operating at a loss, Director of the Trust Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal has revealed plans to increase the fees for visitors and to implement fees for locals wanting to visit the 21 parks under the NPTVI’s command.
Titley-O’Neal made the pronouncement on Sunday, September 20, 2020, during a live interactive session on Facebook with Ninth District Representative and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Vincent Wheatley.
“I know nobody wants to hear about raising the fees, but people need to ensure that the environment continues to provide those ecosystem services to ensure that when the tourists come we have live reefs for them to see. We have to carry up the fees to cover the maintenance cost. We are not looking at it for profit if we could break even I would be extremely happy.”
She said the NPTVI has not been performing well.
“The way the Trust has been running for some time has been at a loss, and it is really affecting our operations, and that’s why a lot of people complain that ‘this park is closed, and this park is closed.’ But, we have increased traffic and to keep up with the trails, the pieces of wood and lumber that have the tracks, lumber cost money. Everything costs money, so we have to find a way for either locals to start paying some kind of nominal fee for the continued upkeep and in terms of the tourists they have to pay some sort of increase in fees.”
The Director said, the Trust is toying with the idea of having a multi-park pass that would simplify the process of getting a pass per venue, and it further eliminates the need to have employees stationed at the various locations.
“Where you pay one fee that covers the cost if you are coming as a tourist, you come in and pay that one fee, and it allows you to go to Anegada and see the iguanas, go to the Baths, Spring Bay,” she stated.
Regarding the concept of the gift, the Director explained, “It will have a picture either of the flamingoes, the iguanas as a souvenir, as a token to tell you thank you, this is how you are donating to the upkeep for when you come back or for when your children and for the entire Virgin Islands.”
According to the BVI Yacht Charters website, the cost of a National Parks Permit is dependent on the number of persons per vessel. The cost would range from $25 per week for four guests or up to $55 per week for ten guests.