Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Of the over $2.5 billion in damages to the territory, due to Hurricane Irma, the tourism sector was most affected and accounted for majority of this damage, with a large fraction of the accommodations being destroyed.
However, Premier, the Honourable Dr. D. Orlando Smith has indicated that by 2020, accommodations should return to the pre-hurricane normalcy.
In a recent address to the House of Assembly, Dr. Smith stated, “As we approach the end of 2018, our accommodations inventory grows daily and currently stands at approximately 1000 rooms (land-based) and 3200 berths (at sea), the latter representing about 75% of our pre-storm inventory. From all accounts, we anticipate that our room inventory will be near normalcy by the end of 2019 or by the second quarter of 2020,” he stated.
This, he said, was largely as a result of the efforts of the BVI Tourist Board, telling Legislators, “Even as the rebuild and recovery had only just begun, the island’s tourism officials jumped to the scene, working to patch together the destination’s offerings, bring hoteliers and stakeholders together and, when the destination was ready, remind travelers that it was already time to come back.”
The increasing numbers of reopened accommodations, he added, is notable.
“We have seen progress with the reopening of Scrub Island, Necker Island, Oil Nut Bay, Guana Island, Sugar Mill, Sebastian’s, Anegada Beach Club, Anegada Reef Hotel and Cooper Island Resort. This also includes many properties such as Maria's by the Sea, Treasure Isle, Mariner Inn at the Moorings and several of the properties on Anegada, and many others that were able to keep operating and provided service during this critical period," Premier Smith noted.
"I am particularly pleased to also report that Fischer’s Cove and Guavaberry Spring Bay on Virgin Gorda, along with many villas and small properties are now set to receive guests for this holiday season. This winter will also see the opening of the Marina Village at Oil Nut Bay, a brand new offering for our yachting guests,” he informed Legislators.
New buildings are also coming to fore, such as the new Quito’s Inn in Cane Garden and the brand new cottages at Cow Wreck.
The Premier went on to say, “While many of our larger properties remain closed, I am pleased to report we are in direct dialogue at the owners’ level with all of them and that they are all in the rebuilding phase. This includes Rosewood Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, set to re-enter the market for next winter 2019/2020, while plans call for Bitter End to reopen its marina and restaurant in early 2019, and work continues apace on Saba Rock and Mosquito Island. Also on Virgin Gorda, I am most pleased to report that Biras Creek Resort will rebuild to an even higher level.”
He further posited that Peter Island, as well as Long Bay Resort, have come a long way in rebuilding.