BVIs Premier & Minister Of Tourism Says 120 Boats Will Be In The Water
Among the destruction, there is a beacon of hope for recovery in the British Virgin Islands.
The charter companies that rent out sailboats to tourists – a key element in tourism to the area, as that is how most people vacation in the BVIs – are planning on renting out boats by November. Several factors will determine when the fleets will be able to sail again, including repairs and insurance claims.
Most of the boats were heavily damaged after Irma.
The Moornings, one of the largest charter companies, has set a date to begin charters for Nov. 1.
And Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr. D. Orlando Smith proclaims that by the end of the month “we will have 120 boats in the water.”
Here is his statement, made on Sept. 22:
“Despite losses, charter companies are already working to ensure guests enjoy the sailing capital of the world this coming tourist season. By the end of November, at least one property had made it clear that they will have 120 boats in the water. I have no doubt that others will do the same.
“After an initial assessment of damages done, all marketing efforts were suspended and the [tourist] board continues to [focus] its efforts on supporting and speaking with tourism stakeholders locally as well as monitoring and responding to media coverage globally.”
The Moorings had already canceled its annual Interline Regatta, the gathering of mostly airline employees from around the world in a series of beach-hopping parties at BVI bars, set for Oct. 10-19.
As for having places for people to sail to – such the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar, Foxy’s, the Baths, the caves and other places – several of the businesses will be able to accommodate tourists by that time.
“About all a bar needs to do is set out a cooler and serve cold beers and rum,” said one BVIs sailing veteran.
The bar owners, whose places have been damaged or destroyed, vow to rebuilt and are encouraging tourists to come back and visit them. They need the business to help them rebuild.