As part of an overall push to boost tourist arrivals in the Virgin Islands (VI), Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has disclosed the territory will soon be selling a special category of visitor's visa that can be purchased en route to the territory or at a local airport.
The Premier made the announcement at today's Tuesday, November 19, 2019, Second Sitting of the Second Session of the Fourth House of Assembly during the the Virgin Islands' 2020 Budget Address.
New revenue streams
"To support the growth of visitor arrivals and fill our hotel rooms, particularly with persons with spending power, special visitor's visas will be introduced allowing certain categories of visitors one week stay," he said.
"They would be able to purchase these Visas at the airport of their departure or here in the BVI and this would provide another revenue stream for the territory," Premier Fahie reasoned.
With immigration and border patrol still regarded as complex issues in the Virgin Islands, Premier Fahie has noted in the past that his administration would do what it takes to revive local industries via innovative solutions that can boost the local economy on behalf of the people.
Emergency airlift for tourists in Hurricane Season
New initiatives were also announced to increase demand for the territory's tourism products, including during the Atlantic Hurricane Seasons.
"Your government working on a framework for providing emergency airlift for visitors out of the territory in times when disaster looms. The fact that we are vulnerable to hurricanes has been identified as one of the reasons some potential visitors are sceptical to travel to the BVI at certain times of the year which created an offseason," he said.
Hon Fahie added that visitors often worry about safety if a hurricane threat arises while vacationing in the territory. According to the territory's leader, "If we can assure our visitors that they will be guaranteed airlift capacity and an opportunity to get to safety they would be more likely to visit our shores."