Although the British Virgin Islands ( BVI ) and its tourism sector were deeply affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the Tourist Board can now proudly proclaim that we’re still sailing as of 1 November.
The BVI Tourist Board and government have been fully dedicated to restoring the territory to its luxurious allure.
While many of the landside accommodations are currently closed, the BVI is thrilled to announce that the yachting sector will begin welcoming visitors in November. The following charter companies intend to resume sailing for the Winter 2017/2018 season – many of whom are bringing new yachts to the BVI for the first time:
- Virgin Motor Yachts
- BVI Yacht Charters
- Dream Yacht Charter
- The Moorings
- VSV (Vacanses Sous Voiles)
- Marine Max Vacations
- Festiva Sailing
- Voyage Charters
- Horizon Yacht Charters
- TMM Yacht Charters
The BVI Charter Yacht Society Boat Show was held at Nanny Cay Marina from 7 – 10 November. The show featured 30-35 luxury yachts, which is about half the number from previous years. While images after the storm have shown widespread destruction in the BVI’s boatyards, many yachts have been able to return to full functionality.
“The BVI has historically been the sailing capital of the world,” Charter Yacht Society Chairman Ruth Ross said. “And the reasons for this have not changed. Our water is still brilliant blue, the anchorages are still beautiful and near one another, and the trade winds will be blowing.”
Additionally, the Tourist Board has announced that the BVI Sailing Regatta will be held as scheduled next spring, from 26 March – 1 April 2018.
“We remain energised and optimistic that the destination’s tourism industry will rebound. Guests of the BVI have come to expect a luxurious, personalised experience in terms of the islands’ natural beauty and our unparalleled hospitality. When they return, this product will only have gotten better,” Director of Tourism Sharon Flax-Brutus said. “On smaller islands like Jost Van Dyke and Anegada, beloved restaurants and bars are working hard to reopen this winter. Foxy’s, for example, plans to host its iconic Old Year’s Night celebration to ring in the New Year.
Diving enthusiasts can enjoy the BVI’s vast marine life at the Wreck of the RMS Rhone, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, or at the new BVI Art Reef. Dead Chest, Peter Island, Norman Island and the Indians are also great places to experience underwater beauty. Meanwhile, the dive operator sector is focused on rebuilding efforts to become fully operational.
Starting 1 November, Dive BVI will operate initially from their main base at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor while Sunchaser Scuba (Bitter End) and Sail Caribbean Divers (initially from the Moorings base) will begin operations the following month.
Commercial flights to the BVI have resumed, and travellers may reach the territory via connections in San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten. Upon arrival, visitors will have access to car rentals and taxis ready for hire, albeit with fewer vehicles available in some cases.
Inspiring tales from the relief and recovery efforts have swept the territory, as residents and friends of the BVI strive to rebuild what is still a dazzling destination.
A Facebook group designed to share news after the storm swelled to more than 32,000 members in just three weeks, and has spurred the launch of the first aid and volunteer organisation focused solely on the BVI: One Love BVI.