BVI Says Welcome Back

The British Virgin Islands is again ready to host tourists, including welcoming those wanting to travel but who are wary about possible crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are finally reopening,” Rhodni Skelton, deputy director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, said during a Dec. 1 webinar. Dec. 1 marked the date the BVI began readmitting visitors, prompting Skelton to declare it the “rebirth” of his destination’s tourism trade.

Those wanting to visit must among other things test negative for coronavirus five or fewer days before arrival.

Skelton suggested the BVI is well-suited for those wanting to go on vacation but who are nervous about coronavirus, stating that both the villa and sailboat holidays it offers reduce the amount of contact vacationers will have with others.

“Is there any way to better social distance during this pandemic (than on a sailboat)?” Skelton asked.

Sailing accounts for much of the BVI’s tourism, with Skelton noting that his home has over 60 islands and cays,

“I dare to say we are the sailing capital of the world…,” he said. “No matter how many Painkillers (a local rum-based drink) you have, you will never get lost (because of the different islands’ proximity to one another).”

Boats can be rented, with crews available as well. Those crews can include a wine sommelier.

Skelton said the BVI — which he described as “quite the opposite” from a mass-market destination — is great for diving, noting it has created artificial reefs.

May’s Wreck Week will appeal to divers but the likes of culture and food will also receive attention. “It truly is a celebration of all things BVI, ” Skelton said.

The BVI is 30 minutes by air from both Puerto Rico and St. Martin, and 45 minutes by ferry from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.



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