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VI gets less than 2% of wedding destination business- Ms Flax

-Tells stakeholders in ‘romance industry’ to be aggressive & not depend solely on BVI Tourist Board
Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Sharon Flax said the territory gets less than two percent of the Wedding Destination business in the Caribbean and that the VI needs to do better. Photo: VINO
Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith said Cabinet has now approved and is to go to the House of Assembly with a bill that would allow persons to get married on cruise ships in VI waters. Photo: VINO
Premier and Minister responsible for Tourism, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith said Cabinet has now approved and is to go to the House of Assembly with a bill that would allow persons to get married on cruise ships in VI waters. Photo: VINO
The bridal seminar is being held at Maria’s By the Sea with the main presenter being Mr Alan Berg who worldtravellersnews.com has rated as North America’s leading expert on wedding- and romance-related businesses. Photo: VINO
The bridal seminar is being held at Maria’s By the Sea with the main presenter being Mr Alan Berg who worldtravellersnews.com has rated as North America’s leading expert on wedding- and romance-related businesses. Photo: VINO
Some of the participants of the bridal seminar at Maria's by the Sea. Photo: VINO
Some of the participants of the bridal seminar at Maria's by the Sea. Photo: VINO
Mr Alan Berg, according to worldtravellersnews.com, has owned several bridal magazines before he joined TheKnot.com, where he served in four different vice president roles before launching his independent training business. He serves as the continuing education guru for WeddingWire. Photo: VINO
Mr Alan Berg, according to worldtravellersnews.com, has owned several bridal magazines before he joined TheKnot.com, where he served in four different vice president roles before launching his independent training business. He serves as the continuing education guru for WeddingWire. Photo: VINO
Wedding planners and other service providers attending the seminar number more than 20 and come from as far as Anegada and Virgin Gorda. Photo: VINO
Wedding planners and other service providers attending the seminar number more than 20 and come from as far as Anegada and Virgin Gorda. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Although the Caribbean is considered the number one choice for destination weddings and honeymoons, the Virgin Islands hardly gets a “bite of the cake” as according to Director of the BVI Tourist Board, Sharon Flax, the territory gets less than two percent of the business.

Ms Flax made the comment at the opening of a one-day seminar for stakeholders in the local wedding destination industry today, April 15, 2015. The seminar is being held at Maria’s By the Sea with the main presenter being Mr Alan Berg who worldtravellersnews.com has rated as North America’s leading expert on wedding- and romance-related businesses.

According to Ms Flax, she would like to think that the romance niche is recession proof since regardless of the state of the world’s economy, people are always getting married, always wanting to celebrate anniversaries, renewal of vows and even having commitment ceremonies.

“The BVI needs to get in on the action in a very big way and the industry is looking at us, and we are one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean if not the world but we get less than two percent of the destination wedding business that comes to the Caribbean and we have got to change that. We have got to change that.”

She added that the BVI Tourist Board, Government agencies, service providers, be it hotels or resort owners, wedding planners, florists, limousine services or boat rentals, are all partners in this industry and need to work together to capitalise on the opportunities provided by this niche.

How is the BVITB assisting?

“What is the BVITB doing and planning to do to promote the romance sector? For a start we are bringing gentlemen and experts like Alan to host this forum for our service providers to share information on what couples are really looking for and to ensure that we maintain the highest standards, and that our products and services are competitive with what is out there.”

She also said the BVI Tourist Board is advertising the unique selling points of the destination in key bridal publications and wedding planning online sites and has upped its profile in North America, apart from attending many bridal shows primarily in the US and UK.

It was stated that the BVITB is looking at ways to partner with local providers as it seeks to promote the sector. “We are always open to ideas. Lynette (Harrigan) is the point person for the romance sector and we encourage you to talk to her as often as you can.”

Ms Flax also called for the formalisation of the BVI Bridal Association and making it functional. She said there was also the need for service providers in the industry to be qualified and promoted.

‘Don’t depend solely on BVITB’

She cautioned stakeholders, however, not to depend solely on the BVITB to promote destination weddings. “We need for you to become more aggressive, more involved in marketing your product. Of course we are here to help you.”

Giving remarks at the opening was Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith who reminded that about three years ago the residency requirements for ‘Special Licence’ were shortened from three (3) days to one (1) day with the amending of the Marriage Act (Cap 272).

Bill for weddings on cruise ships for HOA

Premier Smith added that Cabinet has now approved and is to go to the House of Assembly with a bill that would allow persons to get married on cruise ships in VI waters. “So we are doing all we can to help the business.”

Premier Smith said surveys have shown that the Caribbean is the number one choice for destination weddings and the VI needs to capitalise on it as well as the spinoffs. He noted too that the VI was rated in the top ten of Bridal Magazine for 2014. “However, we are striving to be in the top 5.”

BVI Tourist Board’s Niche Marketing Manager, Lynette L. Harrigan has been given a mandate by Dr Smith to increase to 10% and the BVITB is working very hard to make sure that happens.

“It’s a billion dollar market and from statistics so far from the Registrar’s Office (Civil Registry) for January February and March has been ‘great’ for destination wedding. So we must be doing something right in order for us to be able to have such an impact especially during January, February and March.

Meanwhile, Mr Berg, according to worldtravellersnews.com, has owned several bridal magazines before he joined TheKnot.com, where he served in four different vice president roles before launching his independent training business. He serves as the continuing education guru for WeddingWire.

Wedding planners and other service providers attending the seminar number more than 30 and come from as far as Anegada and Virgin Gorda.

16 Responses to “VI gets less than 2% of wedding destination business- Ms Flax”

  • Local (15/04/2015, 16:35) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
    We need better hotel and reasonable rates else we doom
    • Kingfish (15/04/2015, 19:04) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Local:

      You are on the money,in order to go after that market there has to be much improved hotels with attractive rates. Most destination weddings in the Caribbean are in Dominican Republic and Jamaica where there are many all inclusive resorts with very attractive rates, in addition to that we do not have the airlift capacity to bring in the dozens of people direct from the US to attend these kinds of weddings. The Board should not be spending too much money to promote this as the BVI is not ready for this.
  • we (15/04/2015, 16:47) Like (5) Dislike (6) Reply
    Blam blam blam more election grimick
  • Realist (15/04/2015, 17:56) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    These TB Officials need to stop begging for money and be a self-sustainable since they are a Statutory entity.
    • just me thoughts (16/04/2015, 05:18) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It had nothing to do with her handing of the portfolio or lack thereof.
  • pain (15/04/2015, 18:06) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    pain for guests to get here
  • Elsie (15/04/2015, 19:16) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    strupps the b.v.i. is too greedy they now charging $30.00 for a death certificate which used to be $4.00 marraige is plenty more than that so that is why is only 2%
  • Realist (16/04/2015, 09:09) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    She will be out of that position in the event NDP are no longer in power which may be very soon.
  • Tourist (16/04/2015, 09:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The industry needs a serious over haul. Standards is what is missing
    in this country. The locals hotels are all over price along with the so
    called luxery.

    The place is beautiful but very messy at some popular places. lack of
    basic facilities and mostly not tourist friendly.
  • Trap Queen (16/04/2015, 16:08) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
    In Jamaica we say FIYAH FI DAT! Say no to "POOP SHOOT" weddings.
    • to Tramp Queen (17/04/2015, 23:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      they say a lot of things in Jamaica. Go on back there. Your comment is incredibly rude and small-minded.
  • shaw (17/04/2015, 12:46) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I say include Gay Weddings. Weddings are a one-shot private deal by people who spend lots of money. Here today- gone tomorrow- with someone's personal joy and fond impressions in between. Totally different. They are the ones who will tell their friends for repeat visits and not all of them are gay--
  • think outside the box (19/04/2015, 20:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    From long I've heard and shown interest in such notion, however I cannot see the difficulty in promoting such sector as you'll have to question the strategies used by the director to be successful throughout, during wedding month and throughout the year. We need fresh ideas and reach the audience that frequently gets married and ensure we get their attention.Advertisements, wedding retreats, seminars, fundraisers and the list goes on. This has been dominant for years and can be way more productive.


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