BVI Cabinet to Decide on New Tourist Board TB Chairman by Next Week
In his message for Caribbean Tourism Day on November 2, Premier and Minister for Tourism, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal said the board will soon have its full cadre of members and their new Chairman. He said a paper is going to Cabinet next week, “and you will hear the announcement.”
In August, Myron Walwyn resigned as the Chairman of the Tourist Board and shortly after, Ms. Haddassah Ward was confirmed as Director of the Tourist Board.
The Premier in his message, spoke about several initiatives undertaken by the TB to help sell the BVI and according to Premier O’Neal, the continued global economic challenges are a reminder that the Territory cannot afford to conduct `business as usual’.
“So we must remain vigilant and explore new tourism revenue generating options. In this regard, I am pleased that the BVI Tourist Board continues to explore emerging markets such as Brazil, India, China, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.”
Premier O’ Neal spoke about how the pristine environment is central to the BVI’s success as a tourist destination, and pointed to the just concluded Clean Sweep campaign. “I am pleased that over 10 miles of coastal areas are now cleaner including high traffic pedestrian areas on our main islands of Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Tortola.”
The Tourism Minister touched on climate change and disclosed that in an effort to sensitize the local industry in becoming `green’, the Tourist Board is working with the Caribbean Committee Climate Change Center through the Department of Conservation and Fisheries to develop greening programs.
“In this regard, preliminary discussions are underway to determine the feasibility of the British Virgin Islands becoming a carbon neutral destination which will provide another unique marketing opportunity for our Territory.”
Premier O’Neal said the destination has been known for its friendly people and the people must continue to improve. “That is why `service’ training remains high on our tourism agenda. The recent training in Food and Beverage, Taxi Transportation, Front Desk and Housekeeping are just a few examples of our commitment to this area. In this regard also, we must add immigration, customs, our policemen and the civil service, in general, who must all treat visitors and tourists in a very gentle and courteous manner.”
The Tourism Minister used the opportunity to thank the TB for its continued work over the years.
“On this Caribbean Tourism Day, I applaud the efforts of the BVI Tourist Board for their role in marketing this Territory as a premier tourist destination and for also identifying new, cost effective promotional avenues despite the recent global recession. Today let us all pause to reflect on the importance of tourism,” the Premier stated.
Meanwhile, in the message on Tuesday, the Premier said as a region, countries can look forward to the possibilities of a brighter future following the announcement of additional airlift to the Caribbean with British Airways flights to San Juan, Antigua, St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands, and COPA flights into St. Maarten from Panama and other South American countries which will start this December.
“The BVI Tourist Board will also continue to partner with the BVI International Finance Centre on initiatives in emerging markets, Latin America and the Caribbean.”