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Cruise ships opted not to come to VI under NDP Gov’t

- One cruise company even told previous Gov’t it preferred to take its ships to Antarctica
Cruise lines were reportedly dissatisfied with the way they were treated during the administration of the National Democratic Party and proceeded to reduce calls to the Virgin Islands. Photo: VINO/File
 Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) chaired meetings with major cruise lines at the Seatrade Global event in Miami in April, 2019. Photo: GIS
 Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) chaired meetings with major cruise lines at the Seatrade Global event in Miami in April, 2019. Photo: GIS
The Government of the Virgin Islands intends to appoint a person to oversee and manage cruise industry relations while maintaining continuous dialogue with industry partners. Photo: VINO
The Government of the Virgin Islands intends to appoint a person to oversee and manage cruise industry relations while maintaining continuous dialogue with industry partners. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Government seems to be doing damage control even while devising strategies to safeguard the territory’s tourism products.

And the previous National Democratic Party (NDP) administration has come in for criticisms for hiding critical information about cruise tourism from the House of Assembly (HoA).

Upon taking office on February 26, 2019 the new government led by Premier and Minister of Finance, who also heads the tourism sector, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie(R1), immediately began to evaluate the state of the territory’s main economic pillars, including tourism.

NDP Mask

What was unearthed in many instances was that the then government was hiding key information on the true state of affairs of especially the cruise tourism product.

During the Fourth Sitting of the First Session of the Fourth House of Assembly, June 3, 2019 the world heard the harsh words that were allegedly said to the previous administration by a high ranking cruise line. “At Sea Trade (Global) 2019 one cruise line even advised my delegation and myself that they told members of the previous administration that they would rather send their ships to Antarctica than to send them to the BVI,” referring to the level of poor communication strategy by the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA).

This resulted in the redirecting of cruise ships to other destinations by the aggrieved cruise line. “They were dis-satisfied with the previous communications with the BVI and how their relationship was being handled.”

Stating that he takes no pleasure in revealing the findings, Premier Fahie said, “I cannot understand how persons can profess to love these blessed British Virgin Islands and then conduct the business of the people and the territory with such neglect and contempt.”

Berthing Agreements poorly managed

The Leader of Government Business noted that once the berthing agreements were executed by the BVI Ports Authority, they were poorly managed and no measures were put in place to monitor the key deliverables and performance elements embedded in the agreements. According to the Premier, the Management of the BVI Ports Authority has to be held accountable.

Also discovered in their review were critical ship call information which Premier Fahie said was never communicated to the House of Assembly by the ousted NDP government, “Despite the obvious serious negative impact it would have on the BVI economy.”

He explained that while Norwegian and Disney continues to be good partners, “Norwegian has made a commercial decision that they will adjust their itineraries and reduce ship calls to our BVI port, which is further compounded by the fact that they will not meet their minimum passenger movement guarantee for the upcoming seasons.”

VI facing a $14M loss in cruise tourism

This information, according to Premier Fahie, was critical to be shared in the previous House to guide budget and expenditure processes.

Revealing further details unearthed, the Premier highlighted that Disney Cruise Line has consecutively met their minimum guarantees since the execution of the berthing agreement.

However, in November of 2016 Norwegian had sent correspondents to the Government of the day advising of a pending shortfall of some 18, 200 passengers for the 2017 – 2018 season. It was revealed that the BVI Ports Authority accepted the remedies suggested by Norwegian Cruise Line to pay a shortfall fee based on the passenger tax. “However, no plans or remedies were put in place to ensure that the shortfall did not continue for future seasons,” stated the sitting Premier.

“This administration has now inherited a position of vulnerability which was derived from a significant increase in passengers’ shortfall for the 2019 – 2020 of one hundred and eighty thousand passengers.”

“This translates to an estimated loss of passenger revenue of over fourteen million dollars projected using a passenger spend of $78.11 based on studies conducted by business research economic advisors BREA.”

Norwegian Cruise Line breaches agreement

According to Premier Fahie, in his government’s most recent discussion with Norwegian Cruise Line, they have indicated they will not be able to meet the minimum passenger guarantee for the foreseeable future. “This is the reason why I had to put the 2019 Standing Finance Committee budget meeting on hold in order to personally attend the 2019 Sea Trade Global in Miami and attempt to have these matters rectified.”

The House of Assembly also heard that the tourism products of the territory have significantly declined across the territory due to the hurricanes and only minimal steps were taken by the previous administration to ensure the products were restored to a satisfactorily standard “so that the BVI could maintain its reputation and market share.”

This, Premier Fahie said, could have a negative impact on key stakeholders, including taxi operators and other vendors.

VIP fixing the damages

Premier Fahie said the cruise partners were assured that his administration is very serious about the industry and values their partnerships. “Although Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines had previously pulled most of their ships from calling to the BVI, I am now pleased to say that significant steps have since been taken by both cruise lines in the efforts to once again increase calls to the territory.”

Last month the President and Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Cruise Line and other top executives were on a courtesy call to the territory in a move that reconfirmed their commitment to repairing the relationship with the VI.

According to the Premier, plans have been developed and will be implemented in a phased manner, including holding Norwegian accountable to their berthing agreement and devising a strategy to mitigate the pending shortfall.

The government intends to appoint a person to oversee and manage cruise industry relations while maintaining continuous dialogue with industry partners.

22 Responses to “Cruise ships opted not to come to VI under NDP Gov’t”

  • Anonymous (06/06/2019, 07:10) Like (29) Dislike (18) Reply
    Thank goodness we voted VIP on February 25, 2019
  • Kingfish (06/06/2019, 07:51) Like (32) Dislike (13) Reply
    I find it very difficult to believe this story, no business executive would express themselves in those terms. If they were
    dissatisfied with the level of service being offered in the BVI, they would in my opinion offer recommendations as to what they wish to see accomplished . They are in the business of making money and more people wish to travel to the Caribbean than to Antarctica .
    • l (06/06/2019, 09:19) Like (10) Dislike (9) Reply
      How do you offer recommendations to someone who is not communicating with you?
      • letter (06/06/2019, 21:03) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
        You communicate by means of writing and a certifiable delivery methods. Process server style
  • wize up (06/06/2019, 08:16) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
    the new leader of the opposition will shed some light on this matter: he should have all the first hand information on this subject
  • NezRez (06/06/2019, 08:44) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let’s Make The BVI Beautiful and Profitable Again!
  • Tricky business (06/06/2019, 08:56) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    The sub-text is that BVIs is too slow in recovery, so the challenge is how to expedite this. Jacking up construction prices is not helping, neither is poor project management whereby there are plenty of workers but no work because the materials are not on hand (not ordered, or not in sufficient quantity). We had a tax holiday right after the storms but it was difficult to get materials (other parts of the US needed it and were closer to sources). Nice idea, poor timing. Has anybody attempted to estimate the necessary labor to get the place back to 80%+ completion in say less than 3 years? The longer it gets dragged out, the better other places look.
    • wize up (06/06/2019, 09:26) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ tricky business: I have to agree with you 100% and I personally conclude that leadership played a significant part as to why the territory is still lagging...any additional comment will sound to political
  • OKAY FAHIE (06/06/2019, 10:29) Like (1) Dislike (13) Reply
    Let’s see all that VIP now fixing translate into US$. The proof of the pudding is in the eating ...
  • Burns (06/06/2019, 10:40) Like (11) Dislike (8) Reply
    All you need to know is that NDP is a crook. They all corrupt.
  • Quiet Rebel (06/06/2019, 10:55) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Enough already! You every statement made by the Premier is preface with how awful the NDP was. The VIP campaign that it could govern better and differently than NDP. The voters give it the change so prove it. Using a cricket analogy, you batting now so bat. Let the outcome prove that it can deliver more services more people at less cost. Implore the Premier to be a statesman, for the honey moon is over. The VIP is the government now after a peaceful transfer from the NDP.
  • @Quiet Rebel (06/06/2019, 12:22) Like (32) Dislike (5) Reply
    Agree totally with you. The premier need to be a man and stop the drama. I see so many cruise ships in NDP time. Let’s pray for better for the country and stop the bullshit
  • Sistah Ras’ifrica – VI Abroad (06/06/2019, 12:41) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Reading the blogs- Reading on another online site about the removal of a tourist attraction in Cane Gardens Bay.

    Quiz?

    What is the function of the eyelids?

    Can we even have control of our imagination anymore?

    Help the brother...and stop hating!!!

    Are our people really/truly serious about tourism as an economic pillar?

    My children has travelled extensively and it will be very difficult at this time to come back home with our mentality as a people- although I am dying to do so. We as melanated people need to change how we treat each other.

    One of my daughters’ links abroad:

    https://youtu.be/1RGLYBGy9_0

    The world is watching.

    Plug. ZBVI Radio online. The Chairman, I am still listening. School Dayz, bredren.

    My daughter, Sapphire, said to also plug PULSE VI - young people thing that.
  • bvi (06/06/2019, 12:53) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    The bvi should really decrease the cruise ships any way. Over night guests at hotels should be pushed by bvi tourist board as they spend much more $$$ than the cruise ship cattle who in turn take over the beach and not spend. Having 8,000 cruise ship passengers is a really put off for over night guests.and it’s only the ROM...... group that benefits
  • bvi (06/06/2019, 12:53) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    The bvi should really decrease the cruise ships any way. Over night guests at hotels should be pushed by bvi tourist board as they spend much more $$$ than the cruise ship cattle who in turn take over the beach and not spend. Having 8,000 cruise ship passengers is a really put off for over night guests.and it’s only the ROM...... group that benefits
  • NezRez (06/06/2019, 12:55) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    There is more to this than meets the eye. Outsiders have a way of, when they cannot get their way, they bad mouth the ones who won’t agree to their demands. I bet they didn’t want to pay the fees required by us, or wanted something we couldn’t give, if so, let them cruise their way to Antarctica. To the Premier, please stop the bashing of the former government. It is so childish plus making us look bad.
  • Interesting (06/06/2019, 13:30) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    So....quick question. WHO was in charge of the BVIPA at the time when this arrangement with the good cruise line went bad?

    We seem to be blaming NDP but I seem to recall a particular “man of the clergy” now turned radio talk show host and Climate Change Expert was the one leading BVIPA up till the time things went sour with NDP in the last shower of rain.

    Does anyone else remember this fact or nah? Hmm.....interesting facts indeed
  • Winston (06/06/2019, 14:35) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
    The reason they don't want to come here is because the place is a dump. Who wants to pay good money to see old cars, boats, equipment and trash ? There are many other places to visit where people have pride in their surroundings.

    Between unwelcoming officials, over regulation, high fees and taxes the BVI has seen its days of strong tourism. Clean the damn place up and start welcoming people again !
  • Hmmmm (06/06/2019, 18:18) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Refused to give cut back ...
  • facts (07/06/2019, 04:26) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
    The NDP and the m n m boys killed everything I the bvi


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