Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool announced that the BVI cruising sector will grow even more in 2018 as more ships are expected to make calls here.
While speaking on the 3 April NDP radio program Hon. Vanterpool disclosed that Royal Caribbean and Carnival which are no strangers to the BVI will also be returning next year: “We have had meetings in Miami in March and a number of the cruise ship companies are vying to come. We now have to even try to control how we do that as we go along, but we expect more ships to come in 2018. We expect Royal Caribbean to be back in that year, and the following year hopefully we will begin to see some Carnival ships coming back to the Territory.”
The Communications and Works Minister said that the increased arrival means more revenue, and he disclosed that estimated growth was confirmed by the Director for the Caribbean Cruise Association: “When I was at the trade show, one of the directors for the Caribbean Cruise Association said to me ‘how much do you think each passenger will spend in your country?’ I said, the number is now $50 before we got the cruise pier. He said ‘how much you think it will get to when you do the survey this year or next year?’ I said $100, and he said ‘no, we expect it to be between $130 and $150 per passenger,” Hon. Vanterpool declared.
The Minister explained: “This means, when we get to the million range in a year, $150 million being spent by cruise passengers in the BVI. That is on taxis, purchases and tours, and all the different things that we do… When we get to that level, then we will be adding $150 million to the economy – to the GDP. That’s not peanut money; that is at least 15 percent of our GDP. I think it will be good.”
The litter wardens that are tasked with ensuring that the Territory’s surroundings are kept clean will soon have identification badges to ensure that persons approached recognise the wardens’ authority.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton while commenting on the unsightly garbage dumping situation announced that the litter wardens are being intimidated and threatened. Hon. Skelton further noted that the lack of proper identification is a contributing factor to the disrespect being experienced by the litter wardens. Nonetheless, Hon. Skelton said that the situation will be rectified because the illegal garbage dumping and littering issue has to be dealt with.