USVI Governor Kenneth Mapp made it clear that although BVI travelers are being catered to in the various port refurbishment projects being undertaken by his Territory, particular the Cyril E King Airport and the Red Hook Ferry terminal, he said that it would be wrong to suggest that the works are mainly to capitalize on BVI travelers.
During a press conference on 16 October Governor Mapp told local reporters: “We are not expanding the airport targeting BVI customers, but expanding the airport and recognizing that about 25% of our passengers coming through the terminal are destined to the British Virgin Islands. It is in our best interest then, to provide levels of accommodation and support that facilitate those passengers to their final destination.”
“I don’t want to give the impression or leave the impression that somehow our investments in our ports and in our structure is because we just want to take from the BVI,” the USVI Governor added.
The US Virgin Islands Ports Authority (USVIPA) previously announced that it is undertaking reconstruction and renovation of its airports and seaports which were destroyed by the recent of hurricanes with damages to the tune of $87 million.
It was in an announcement made a few months ago that the USVIPA stated that the new facilities will cater to BVI travelers. In noting the plans the USVIPA during the hosting of a design charrette on St. Thomas in June announced that the new CEK Airport will have: “Expanded parking and ground transportation facilities, utilizing the second floor of the terminal and adding jet bridges and a new transportation facility to facilitate travel from the airport to the British Virgin Islands.”
It was also announced that – on the seaport end of things – the completed construction of a temporary US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) checkpoint at the Urman Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook will enable passenger ferries arriving from ports like the BVI to clear Customs in Red Hook instead of traveling to downtown Charlotte Amalie at the Edward Blyden Terminal.
“This time-saving amenity has improved the travelers’ experience between the USVI and the British Virgin Islands. CBP is also providing Customs services for private pleasure boats at the Victor Sewer Facility (The Creek) in St. John to accommodate the charter industry that has become an integral component of St. John’s economy,” the USVIPA stated.