Local tourism stakeholders are confident that the arrest of former Premier Andrew Fahie has not had a major impact on the territory’s appeal to local and international industry partners.
Fahie was arrested while on official business representing the BVI at the annual Sea Trade Cruise Global conference in Miami.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday May 13, Deputy Prime Minister Kye Rymer, a member of the BVI delegation to the conference, said that based on the response from industry leaders, he is convinced that the enthusiasm for visiting the territory remains high.
He noted that communications between local tourism stakeholders and international partners would have continued regarding cruise ship stops in the territory.
“Based on what happened at Sea Trade with our cruise partners, the guest experience remains high and they were thrilled to come to the territory. I understand what happened at that time , but our industry partners have developed a relationship with them, and they will make sure that once in the territory, the product will be there for them to explore,” Rymer said.
Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Director of the BVI Ports Authority, who was also a member of the Sea Trade delegation, said the conference atmosphere was positive and productive. She said she met with several industry partners and had more than 20 meetings with cruise ship representatives since returning from Sea Trade.
She reiterated that confidence remains high.
“We reached out to our cruise partners and met the same people last week just to reassure them that we are continuing to operate our cruise business and that was well received. We were able to confirm and maintain all calls for the season,” Chalwell said.
BVI Tourism Board Director Clive McCoy also echoed the same sentiments and highlighted the success of the conference as it relates to tourism in the territory. He noted that cruise lines were happy to call at the Virgin Islands and he noted that the territory was lauded for its hospitality to guests.
“Another very exciting thing was how they thought the BVI hospitality was very good. One of them told us that we (the BVI) went to the top three destinations they visited for hospitality,” McCoy said.
He also said two new cruise lines – Ritz Charlton and Virgin Limited will visit the territory during the upcoming cruise ship season.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley noted that Fahie’s arrest was very unfortunate, saddening and shocking to everyone, but since then the government has moved on; first, by removing Fahie from his ministerial posts.
“We send a message to the public in the Virgin Islands and to the international community that business continues at BVI,” Dr Wheatley said.
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