TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Saturday November 4, 2017 — Although the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and its tourism sector were deeply affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the Tourist Board says yachting is on course.
While many of the landside accommodations are closed, the yachting sector began welcoming visitors on November 1. Several charter companies intend to resume sailing for the Winter 2017/2018 season – many of whom are bringing new yachts to the BVI for the first time.
Images after the storms have shown widespread destruction in the BVI’s boatyards, but many yachts have been able to return to full functionality.
“The BVI has historically been the sailing capital of the world,” Charter Yacht Society Chairman Ruth Ross said. “And the reasons for this have not changed. Our water is still brilliant blue, the anchorages are still beautiful and near one another, and the tradewinds will be blowing.”
A sailing enthusiast’s delight, the BVI is excited to once again host the highly-anticipated Anegada Lobster Festival on November 25 and 26. Guests are encouraged to stop by the event to indulge in delectable and authentic seafood offerings, entertainment and fun.
Additionally, the Tourist Board has announced that the BVI Sailing Regatta will be held as scheduled next spring, from March 26 to April 1, 2018.
“We remain energized and optimistic that the destination’s tourism industry will rebound. Guests of the BVI have come to expect a luxurious, personalized experience in terms of the islands’ natural beauty and our unparalleled hospitality. When they return, this product will only have gotten better,” Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said.
On smaller islands like Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, restaurants and bars are working hard to reopen this winter.
Meantime, the diving sector is also focused on rebuilding efforts to become fully operational. Diving enthusiasts can still enjoy the BVI’s vast marine life at the Wreck of the RMS Rhone, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, or at the new BVI Art Reef. Dead Chest, Peter Island, Norman Island and the Indians are also great places to experience underwater beauty. Meanwhile,
Starting November 1, Dive BVI began operating from their main base at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor while Sunchaser Scuba (Bitter End) and Sail Caribbean Divers (initially from the Moorings base) will begin operations next month.
Commercial flights to the BVI have resumed, and travelers may reach the territory via connections in San Juan, St Thomas, Antigua and St Maarten. Upon arrival, visitors will have access to car rentals and taxis ready for hire, albeit with fewer vehicles available in some cases.
Inspiring tales from the relief and recovery efforts have swept the territory, as residents and friends of the BVI strive to rebuild what is still a dazzling destination.
A Facebook group designed to share news after the storm swelled to more than 32,000 members in just three weeks, and has spurred the launch of the first aid and volunteer organization focused solely on the BVI: One Love BVI.