BVI Premier Says No Environmental Cost for Airport Expansion

Airport Expansion Will Not Come At Expense Of Our Environment – Premier Assures
BVI Platinum News

Published: April 11, 2012 7:54 am AST

Photo Credit: File

Hon. Dr. Orlando Smith, Premier and Minister for Tourism has assured that the expansion of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport at Beef Island will not come at the expense of the Territory’s environment.

Speaking to the BVI Tourist Accommodation Properties Association at a meeting held yesterday, April 10, the Premier spoke at length about the importance of supporting the association and also encouraged small property owners to look at joint programmes using collective strength in areas such as purchasing, marketing, training, printing, promotions and web site design.

He stated that Government will not just listen, but will also offer help, noting that they have several plans including the expansion of the airport.

“More recently we have begun discussions about the expansion of the runway at the TB Lettsome International Airport. This expansion will help small properties in the future to be more competitive globally as a result of easier access for your guests and more competitive fares. But I assure you that even as we speak about the expansion of our airport, it will not come at the expense of our environment, which is the very thing that sustains us,” he stated.

The Premier said small property owners must pool their resources to reduce their collective and individual cost of doing business.

“Do not view each other as competitors, but as partners where a rising tide lifts all boats in the harbour. Build win-win relationships. With this approach I can assure you that my Government will not only listen, but help,” he stated.

The Premier also charged the BVI Tourist Accommodation Properties (TAP) Association members to be willing to do what the tourism industry requires to be successful. “You must participate fully in the programmes of the Tourist Board. You must increase the standards of the product. You must increase your level of service and you must be 100 percent personally involved in your business.”

He said in creating a new direction for TAP to build a more competitive BVI, they must think about strategic and creative ways to get more market share.

“Think about how you have done business and not be afraid to make changes. Think about making progress. Think about your role in stimulating the economy to build a better British Virgin Islands. Just recently, we introduced changes in the way duty is charged on imported goods. We trust that you will benefit from those changes. We also spoke about the revitalisation of Craft Alive Market. This will result in a much better experience for our visitors and a better environment for our vendors,” he stated at the meeting.

The Tourism Minister said while Government’s intention is on stimulating the economy, they must also encourage them to sell the best of what the BVI is offering.

He said like in 2003, the National Democratic Party (NDP) Government has the same mindset. “Developing our tourism product is about the public and private sectors committing to each other to improve the hospitality sector. My Government is committed to the development of a buoyant and vibrant small business sector, where new and repeat customers are excited about being given exceptional service.”

He said they are committed to the tourism agenda where residents and visitors are enjoying more than sun, sand and sea. This, the Premier stated, means creating combined vacation packages which tells a story about the BVI as a prime destination for relaxation and investments.

“I would like to assure the Association and its members to expect our full support. Indeed, we are ensuring a new direction for TAP to build a more competitive British Virgin Islands. I am told that the BVI Tourist Board has put together an aggressive programme as part of its Villas and Inns Programme where it will continue to assist the organisation with its annual operations.”

He said additionally, the board is looking at concrete ways to assist the organisation with marketing.

“For example, I look forward to the establishment of a booking engine for small properties. The board will be working with a US based tour operator to find ways to add affordable airfare to the booking engine. Also, we believe that small property bookings will attract the UK market. I am happy that emphasis will be given to these properties in the new public relations programmes being developed in the US and UK and Europe. This will include social media,” he stated.

Further, the Premier reminded persons about the amendment that was made to the Hotel Aid Ordinance during his 2003-2007 term in office and urged them to take full advantage of the legislation.

“When I served as Chief Minister from 2003-2007, my Government amended the Hotel Aid Ordinance (Cap 290) to encourage small property development in the Territory. I encourage you to take advantage of the benefits of this piece of legislation which will help you to keep your product sharp and market competitive. I will ensure that any such applications get immediate attention by my office,” he told the meeting.

Copyright 2011 by Virgin Islands Platinum News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About Bruce

Work for sustainable development of small islands and the Chesapeake Bay; ex-Peace Corps (Volunteer and staff) in LA & Caribbean; cruised Caribbean on S/Y Meander for three years; like small tropical islands, French canals, Umbria, Tasmania, and NZ. Married 52 years to the late Kincey Burdett Potter (see President of the now-sunsetting Island Resources Foundation.
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