It’s a new day for tourism in the Virgin Islands as the newly appointed Board members of the Tourist Board met for their first meeting in an official orientation on Monday, October 3.
Members of the new Board were chosen through an application process where they were interviewed and later recommended and appointed by Cabinet.
Board members include representatives from each of the four main islands and are individuals who possess leadership skills, training, and experience in various tourism industry sectors, including small hotels/villas; large hotels; marine association; taxi and livery services; tour operators/cruise; marine activity/entertainment; cultural activity/entertainment; and nightlife/bars.
The new group began its new appointment with an orientation session to provide them with an opportunity to share with the Premier in his vision for tourism as well as to be equipped with the necessary information to get started.
Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Dr. the Honorable Natalio D. Wheatley sent out a resounding message to the new Board to approach the Virgin Islands’ tourism product with innovation and a high level of seriousness.
He said, “Tourism is everyone’s business, and I am looking forward for a collaborative effort with all of us playing our respective roles and responsibilities in this new Tourist Board, and I am grateful that you have agreed to serve.”
“As the Territory goes through a process of reform, let us take the opportunity to think about how we have been doing things and work on improving them. Let us combine our ideas in ensuring that the BVI Tourism product remains top notch, as we continue to offer our guests the unique Virgin Islands’ experience,” the Premier encouraged.
Junior Minister of Tourism, Honorable Alvera Maduro-Caines, joined her voice in stressing the importance of working together to ensure success in the competitive tourism arena. She appealed to the new Board members to join forces with the front line offices such as the Immigration and Customs Department to remain customer friendly, adequately trained and sharp in order to give visitors that first and lasting impression.
“We must come up with a plan to involve our front line workers from Immigration, to Customs and our taxi drivers. This is an area which we need to improve, and I am counting on your support to improve this area which is so important,” the Junior Tourism Minister said.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe, in welcoming the members of the Board, informed them of the ongoing reform process in light of the implementation of the COI recommendations. She therefore, highlighted the importance of getting things right from the beginning, understanding where the Tourist Board stands and its priority areas.
She said, “I was able to listen to you during your interviews and hear your passion when it comes to the BVI tourism product. I am really counting on you, as you have a strategic role to play. I take this opportunity to remind you that you are here to make a difference, and I look forward to working with you.”
The Chairman of the newly appointed Board is Mrs. Delma Maduro and the members are:
mr. Andrew Ball
mrs. Keshia Davis Barnes
mr. Gregory Callwood
mrs. Dorcas Fahie
mr. Ears Hodge
mr. Allan Parker
mrs. Shamora Penn – Maduro
mr. Miles Sutherland Pilch
mr. Henry Prince
Ms. Lorraine Wheatley
mr. Dean Fahie – Managing Director BVI Ports Aurhority
mr. Clive McCoy – Director of the BVI Tourist Board
mr. Kurt Menal – Managing Director BVI Aviation Authority
mrs. Carolyn Stoutt Igwe – Permanent Secretary, Premier’s Office
The BVI Tourist Board was established under the Tourist Board Ordinance (CAP 280) under the portfolio of the Premier’s Office. The Board’s role is to promote, foster and encourage tourist investment within the Virgin Islands utilizing measures and strategies as deemed fit.