As the British Virgin Islands continues to revive a tourism industry that took a heavy hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent statistics show that the neighboring United States Virgin Islands (USVI) is the fastest growing destination in the Caribbean right now.
“The US Virgin Islands saw a 44 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019 – a growth rate no other destination has been able to match,” said a report by the Caribbean Journal – a leading magazine for regional tourism destinations.
The report also said that USVI’s growth began during the pandemic due to factors such as “experienced tourism management and a flexible health travel policy”.
A close view of the British Virgin Islands shows that tourism is one of the main economic pillars of the British Overseas Territory. But at the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, tourism numbers in the territory dropped dramatically due to the strict measures announced by the government for travelers in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.
At the time, there were numerous calls for the rules to be relaxed, but the government led by Andrew Fahey was adamant that the rules stay in place.
As a result, the BVI lost many pioneers of day trips, land tourists, and yachts to countries such as the USVI. which have policies that are more appropriate for COVID-19.
In addition to these factors, there are questions about whether tourism in the British Virgin Islands is suffering from the fallout from the arrest of former Prime Minister Fahey, who is still being held in a Miami apartment while awaiting trial in the United States on drug and money laundering charges.
There are also those who have assumed that the government is preoccupied with implementing the commission’s recommended reforms and does not have time to focus on reviving the tourism industry.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Wheatley recently revealed that the government is looking at mitigating measures to facilitate the travel of some boaters between the BVI and BVI.
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