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Gov't pushing for 5 Star Resorts @ Prospect Reef & Beef Island- Hon Christian

- Training & standards the focus of the Junior Minister for Tourism
The National Democratic Party (NDP) government is pushing to turn Prospect Reef into a 5 Star development, according to Junior Minister for Tourism, Hon Archibald C. Christian. Photo: VINO/File
Junior Minister for Tourism Hon Archibald C. Christian will report directly to Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith on some areas of tourism. Photo: GIS
Junior Minister for Tourism Hon Archibald C. Christian will report directly to Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith on some areas of tourism. Photo: GIS
Archibald C. Christian (left) taking his oath as Junior Minister for Tourism on Wednesday December 16, 2015. With him is Governor John S. Duncan OBE. Photo: GIS
Archibald C. Christian (left) taking his oath as Junior Minister for Tourism on Wednesday December 16, 2015. With him is Governor John S. Duncan OBE. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Honourable Archibald C. Christian has his work cut out for him as the new Junior Minister with responsibility for Tourism as he is now on the ground making sure that the sector is transformed into the pillar of the economy that it is.

“It means that the Premier has given me the responsibility to report to him on matters related to tourism, which covers the hotel industry, the sailing industry, the diving industry, the cruise ship industry and a whole host of other affiliated spin offs. I work closely with the BVI Tourist Board so that they could execute the mandate of the tourism industry. So they report to me and I report directly to the Premier,” he said during an exclusive interview with Virgin Islands News Online.

Honourable Christian said that since being appointed to the post of Junior Minister with responsibility for Tourism he has attended one of the board meetings of the Tourist Board...they have regular meetings and there is one scheduled for next week where a number of issues pertaining to the industry will be discussed.

Priorities for the tourism sector

Honourable Christian said when he was inducted into the post by Premier Smith, the Premier wanted him to focus on two main areas - training and standards.

He said the industry is a very competitive one and hence the need for both training and standards to be enhanced.

“The tourists that come to our shores these days are looking for good service. The destination is prided with being a very hospitable and friendly destination but service is something Premier Smith wants us to focus on across the industry...service by the hotels, service by the marinas, service by the diver operators, service by the immigration officers, service by the customs officers, service by the Police officer, the taxi drivers and the service ambassadors...basically all of the frontline people.”

NDP Gov't still pushing Prospect Reef development

Hon Christian noted that under his watch, there will be programmes that will from time to time address training as it relates to service. When it comes to standards he said they are trying to ensure that they attract some new five star resorts to the VI. “Two properties that we are pushing for five star development would be Prospect Reef and Beef Island,” he said.

It was in November 2014 that Premier Smith, who was upbeat about United Kingdom company McAlpine’s touted $100ml assured investment for the Prospect Reef Development Project, announced that the project was put on hold as McAlpine was no longer interested.

“At the moment the Prospect Reef Development Plan is on hold,” he said at a press conference on November 25, 2014 as he reminded reporters that his NDP government had gone through a process where “we had selected a company to continue the development but the company has not taken up that offer at the moment they are still waiting and to determine when to move forward.”

According to Premier Smith, the proposal for the development of Prospect Reef was on the table during the NDP’s time in office from 2003 – 2007.

He had further said McAlpine was hoping to develop the project over a three-year period to include villas, hotel suites, recreational and conference facilities, branded condominiums, office spaces and restaurants, among other things.

Noting that Premier Smith has overall responsibility for tourism, he said the Premier will deal with policies and ensuring that we negotiate with the right persons to come in and invest, attracting other business opportunities in tourism. “I will support him in those endeavours and in some instances he may ask me to go off to a conference to ensure that we can gather information and then I would come back and report to him.”

He said one of those conferences was the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean (OECS) Ministers of Tourism Conference in Antigua for two days and he went and represented the Premier. “At that conference we discussed a whole host of issues,” he said.

Turning his attention to the need to build capacity at the Tourist Board, Hon Christian said the staff at the Tourist Board is always exposed to training and he said sometimes this involves taking staff to activities overseas such as trade shows.

Challenges to the sector

Honourable Christian said some of the challenges to the sector would be the closure of Biras Creek Resort, Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort and more recently Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and making sure that the employees were looked after in terms of their labour commitments and immigration formalities.

Another challenge that he cited is the increase in cruise passengers, in that the focus is now on making sure those passengers are dispersed within the territory evenly and not all of them concentrating on one destination, for example Cane Garden Bay.

“You have heard us speaking about finding other places for the tourists to be able to disperse...trying to redevelop some of the historical would have heard about my comment regarding utilising H. Lavity Stoutt’s burial ground as one of those locations where tourists could be.”

The Territorial At Large Representative said Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr The Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering is working on the revitalisation of Brandywine Bay Beach as an alternative for the tourists to go.

“We are trying to make some improvements to Road Town so that it is more pedestrian friendly and, in addition to the lovely completed cruise ship dock, they can still be able to walk through Road Town...we are trying to complete the Queen Elizabeth II Park as people like green areas and places to relax and enjoy. We are trying to complete these projects by the next tourist season,” he said.

32 Responses to “Gov't pushing for 5 Star Resorts @ Prospect Reef & Beef Island- Hon Christian”

  • Crabb (16/05/2016, 09:57) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    find out who the local parners are for the Prospect Reef hotel thing to talk
  • 2 terms isn't fair (16/05/2016, 10:01) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am so sorry that we have to pay this mumu pension until he die.
  • eye observer (16/05/2016, 10:01) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    pure talk the BVI like its economy is dead dead dead
  • wize up (16/05/2016, 10:09) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    just another inside job; personal intrest under the disguise by forming a private company: look sharp government will subsidized this venture, you know; using BVI Airways as the example a private project backed by your tax money
  • Hogwash (16/05/2016, 10:09) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    No legal gambling + no golf course = no 5 star
    • So On Point (16/05/2016, 12:09) Like (8) Dislike (4) Reply
      @Hogwash: that is what I have been talking about. Live abroad and BVI Tourists tell me, all the time, that they want fun nights after doing the sea all day. They want 5 Star Hotel with Casino and good entertainment.
      • Tourist (16/05/2016, 17:43) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
        I like to vacation on Tortola but, honestly, you get bored after a while doing the same things. Yes, I do agree that the BVI need a five star hotel that offers golfing, fine dining and a casino.
  • just wrong (16/05/2016, 11:20) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Scrub Island was sold to this Government as a 5 star resort. What a joke. Scrub is at best 2.5 stars if you want to be generous.
  • Hmm (16/05/2016, 11:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    also no direct flights coupled with more taxes for the airlines , they really need to do more to attract investors or for the local investors to be confident to invest their money. Right now all of this is wishful thinking.
  • Street reporter.. (16/05/2016, 11:50) Like (3) Dislike (8) Reply
    Turn propect into our senior high school for 4th and 5th formers...The Hotel at beef island is long over due..focus on getting that Hotel at Beef done.
    • wize up (16/05/2016, 12:51) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      we want that establishment on wickhams cay 2 to run prospect reef hotel as well...
    • u crazy (16/05/2016, 15:09) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
      beef island is going to be our drag racing strip for ever and ever!
  • Well Sah! (16/05/2016, 13:12) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    I wonder which Caribbean newspaper this one is reading these days. Back on the stage with alot of talking, we will be watching to see what, who, and how these initiatives you’re boasting about pan out. Word of caution, “No More Deception and Shenanigans” should be part of these deals you’re talking about, or else….we will leave it there for now!
    • wize up (16/05/2016, 15:42) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ well sah!! study good and investigate...these guys who are asked to head projects simply hooks up with a few freinds then form a company putting personal fininancal intrest above the development of the territory under these conditions the country surfers....
  • underscore (16/05/2016, 15:40) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pure hogwash for sure. All hotels on VG closing left and right in you all faces and then you claim no knowledge! Get those management pigs out of Little six and the other pig from oil but and try to get honest investors to our shores. Nightly entertainment is non existent- why develop a burial site? Take a short trip to Barbados or St martin, find out how and why they doing so well
    • idiots (16/05/2016, 17:32) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
      All Caribbean Islands with major resorts have one thing in common, PROPER AIRPORTS!! Keep saying no to the airport and then acting stupid as to why hotels are closing or downsizing. Keep it up!
      • Pure BULL (17/05/2016, 01:10) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        St.John don't have an airport and their hotels doing fine.... Virgin Gorda has one and see what's happening?
        • Yes (17/05/2016, 16:36) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
          Why would St John need an Airport when it's part of the USVI and 10 mins from St Thomas, with Ferries every hour? The same reason VG wouldn't need one once Tortola have one, nice try buddy, come again!
  • the real deal (16/05/2016, 15:45) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    Beef island hotel is as long overdue as having air conditioning at the airport. Mr.Junior Minister, do you not realize that this may be the only airport in the entire Caribbean with no air conditioning? Here is one way to increase revenue quickly
  • Law Abiding citizen (16/05/2016, 17:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Have the public buy shares in it. That'll be a good way to give back to the people.
  • pete (16/05/2016, 18:36) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    with closure of Biras Creek Resort, Little Dix Bay Resort and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), why would we invest in more attempts when we can't make those work? ONB owner is involved big time with airport and north sound. Why would someone want to spend big money for a hotel room next to the airport? A big hotel will not work and hurt the fragile environment on BI. This is so stupid unless you establish a smaller eco-friendly boutique hotel. Why do you think people come here? Because we are different from other concrete jungles. So far, none of our "5-star" attempts have worked. (scrub etc) so why build another? Get Prospect working AND MANAGED CORRECTLY and then see where we are. Plus, don't over burden places like Smugglers Cove and Brewers with cruise ship people either- because with them come t-shirts, cheap jewelry and import clothing.
    • just wrong (16/05/2016, 20:25) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
      @pete - Probably the best example I have read of the real issue. TAHNKS. And of course the real issue is the ONB involvement of the Airport. So totally short sided and breathing "corruption" ! For the life of me, I don't understand why people in the BVI are not demonstrating on the obvious.
      • pete (16/05/2016, 22:57) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
        thank YOU for the acknowledgement. I have been spitting into the wind for years but no one gets it. cutting corners and dropping import taxes for "hotels" like ONB has lost BVI millions. This developer is playing the Governors like a fiddle. When he first was negotiating he donated $10,000 to VG community centre like he was walking on water. Then he got to move forward on a $400 mil project without an updated Environmental Impact Assessment.... NDP got dazzled yet again by big money and continues to do so. The airport is for ONB and VG.
        and in between flights it sits empty. It is a waste. As for demonstrations, everyone is related to everyone else and will retaliate if they don't like one's political positions. Rule by fear and code of silence. true.
  • Peter Crumble (16/05/2016, 20:52) Like (5) Dislike (8) Reply
    mayson Archie, it look like these VIP vultures want to eat you alive. what you did do them buddy?
    • The fact is- (16/05/2016, 21:37) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Peter Crumble- This guy don’t have alick of sense, just a talking mouth piece; he is just a follower and a puppet, elected by association at the time we were all deceived into voting for these bunch of NDP deceivers and possibly crooks if we ever get the opportunity to carry-out an independent audit (and not a self-audit of their actions). Now we are stock paying him a pension for the rest of his life- yet another unwanted and useless expense on top of everything else, weighting down our backs to pay. Yes, I said it!
  • think (16/05/2016, 22:21) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I personally think they should work on expanding the Airport first and foremost. If the bigger planes were able to land on Beef Island, there will be more tourist. I am all for five star hotels but if you don't have a proper Airport, a five star hotel is going to fail.
  • Casino (17/05/2016, 06:07) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    No Airport. No Casino.. New Hotel don't make will fail ..The pier park needed a Casino that to in aattrr of a yr will fail...its OK to dislike something.. Its OK to be religious. But we have to deal with reality..we invest to make profit. For example. Locals don't like expats but the locals invest in apartments and expats rent them...So tell me why can't we have Casinos? Its just an investment... Are we more righteous than st Marten... Sure we have more crimes than st marten who is twice as fast much more busy than us
  • BeefStew (17/05/2016, 16:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Beef Island resort still on the cards?
    Man I thought they done see sense a while ago when they lose them court cases over and over.
    And all these hotels closing in the BVI so the Premier wants to open two more?
    Seriously, policy here is nothing to do with good sense. Just policy-makers' dollars and cents.
  • peps (17/05/2016, 17:11) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Saint Martin have security/police who don't jester
  • Don't Know (18/05/2016, 07:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A casino will bring in serious money. But, for a casino here, they are going to have to bring in some well trained bonded security.

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