The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board (BVITB) is working hard to secure a late evening ferry service to bring tourists from St Thomas, USVI to the Territory this coming tourism season. The ferry service is seen as a necessary remedy for the current airlift shortcomings of the Territory.
The intention to secure the ferry service was disclosed in the Request for Proposal (RFP) that the BVI Tourist Board issued on 15 October. The RFP explained that the Board is projecting that it would get many guests arriving via the Cyril E King Airport in St Thomas this 2019/2020 tourist season. This has worked well in the past and should be revived for the long term, a commentarist told The Island Sun.
According, to the Board these guests are expected to arrive in St Thomas in the late afternoons, mostly on weekends, and well after the last regularly scheduled ferry from St Thomas. Therefore, it was noted that the ferry service was critical.
Noting the airlift shortcomings of the BVI the Tourist Board explained that operating without such a service is an untenable situation. In fact, the introduction of such a service is expected to entice even more guests to visit the BVI in the coming years.
In relations to the proposed service the Board said that it is seeking proposals from qualified ferry service operators to provide an evening ferry service from Red Hook St Thomas to Road Harbour, BVI, effective from 15 December 2019 to 31 May 2020.
This is not the first time that such a service will be operating in the Territory. The previous arrangement for such a service was undertaken during the 2007-2011 VIP administration. At that time the then Premier Hon. Ralph O’Neal emphasized the importance of adequate transportation given the Territory’s dependence on tourism.