Caribbean Tourism Day 2007 message from British Virgin Islands Minister of Tourism

By: Ralph T. O’Neal
British Virgin Islands Premier and Minister of Tourism

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS – Ladies, gentlemen and students attending schools throughout our Territory, the British Virgin Islands is pleased to join other Caribbean countries in observing Caribbean Tourism Day on Tuesday, November 6th, designated by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.

I fully endorse the observance of Caribbean Tourism Day because of the significant role tourism continues to play in building the economies of the region. I therefore encourage everyone including our school children to take advantage of this excellent opportunity to learn more about our tourism industry.

Since tourism plays such a major role is raising revenue to run the country, for example in providing schools and teachers, every person in the Territory should become aware of the importance about it.

It is fitting that on 6th November we observe Caribbean Tourism Day at a time when we here in the British Virgin Islands are celebrating November as Tourism Awareness Month.

In the British Virgin Islands we continue to welcome visitors from different nations, cultures and religions to our shores. Government’s Development Planning Unit reports overall increases in visitor arrivals and average visitor expenditures over the past 10 years. Visitor arrivals peaked at 825,603 persons in 2006, while the average visitor expenditure was recorded at $470.40; the highest ever. I endeavour to ensure that this trend continues for years to come.

We are all ambassadors for the British Virgin Islands so let us extend a warm welcome to the tourists. Offer assistance when needed by providing directions or by allowing them to cross the streets. Remember that tourists also visit the BVI from the Caribbean and Latin America so I ask that we treat every one with the same courtesy.

I encourage everyone to learn more about our tourism industry by visiting or calling the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board offices on Tortola and Virgin Gorda. Furthermore, the Tourist Board can also provide information about careers in tourism to our students so that you too can help to build our tourism product.

As we celebrate Caribbean Tourism Day and Tourism Awareness Month, let us remember that tourism is the primary source of income for many families and businesses. I therefore salute the contributions of our taxi drivers, sales clerks, hotel staff, private sector partners and industry associations. Let us all do our part because tourism is indeed everyone’s business.

The Government is very much pleased to join with the region in celebrating Caribbean Tourism Day and we pledge our support to Tourism Awareness Month activities here in the British Virgin Islands.

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