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Yacht Charter Industry Awaits Non-Stop Direct Flights from Miami to the BVI

February 23, 2016

BVI Airways Announces Direct Flights from Miami to Tortola

The Yacht Charters Guru is eagerly awaiting updated news concerning the plans for non-stop direct flights from Miami to the BVI in the Fall of 2016! This announcement was made in mid-January and described as an exciting major boost to the territory.

The BVI Airways flight from Miami to the BVI takes only 2.5 hours and will offer a gourmet meal as well as a First-class cabin. The service aircraft will be a regional RJ85 which will be converted to accommodate 86 passengers. Service is expected to begin with three flights weekly, then daily service and potential expansion to include two or three daily flights in the high season from Christmas through New Years.

Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith Smith pointed out that the direct flights between Miami and the BVI will commence in the Fall of this year. He explained that while it may sound a long time from now, there is a lot of preparation required to get the planes to fly full to and from Miami. The Premier noted that, “It should concern persons that the Virgin Islands competitors such as St. Thomas, USVI, have much better air access, with direct flights to and from major international destinations. 

And it certainly does not help that that sleeping giant, Cuba, has awakened from its long slumber!”

BVI Premier and Minister of Finance Honorable D. Orlando Smith

In making the announcement it was mentioned that the BVI Government will be investing in the service: “The government is investing $7M over a three-year period time. We expect to recoup this money, because there is a sharing arrangement as it goes on…There is no seat guarantee, it’s just an investment to get it up and running which will be recoup because of the agreement we have.”

“As a result, we expect consequential infrastructural development in the tourism sector; higher participation of BVI businesses in activity outside of the BVI, and ultimately more employment opportunities for our people. The partnership with BVI Airways is meant to fill the immediate need to solve our air access issues and constitutes another investment by my Government in the continued development of the BVI economy and its people,” the BVI Leader announced.

BVI Airways direct flights from Miami to TortolaChairman of the BVI Tourist Board, Mr. Russell Harrigan lauded the new direct flight and stated that it is a great boost to the BVI as a tourism destination: “We will for the first time take charge of our future and our collective objective of building a year round destination, tapping new markets, expanding our annual calendar of events and growing events such as the Lobster Fest, doing more in sports tourism, we will have an airline partner for our summer and fall packages, and yes tapping into the BVI Brand in the financial services space to encourage more persons to do business here, as well as vacation in the BVI.” “Additionally, this flight also has the potential to create completely new business opportunities”. Part of the preparations before the first flight includes the BVI Airways management meeting with Air Safety Support International (ASSI) to garner approval as the officials announced that they require approval from the regulators in both the United Kingdom and USA.

The Yacht Charters Guru will provide further updates as soon as they become available! 

Update: September 18, 2016

Sharon Flax-Brutus, the British Virgin Islands Director of Tourism commented about the coming direct flights on 9/13 at Caribbean Tourism Organization State of the Industry conference in Barbados. “I believe the new flights will have a significant impact on our tourism arrivals,” said Flax-Brutus, adding that she could see it, "leveling the playing field for us” in comparison with other Caribbean destinations.

“Previously we depended on St. Thomas, St. Maarten and San Juan as gateways to travel to the British Virgin Islands. We should have our own gateways. There is a lot of demand for increased air service on the leisure side” in the British Virgin Islands, she continued, adding that the new service will create “a more economical, faster way to travel to the British Virgin Islands.”
Flax-Brutus said the British Virgin Islands officials expect the country to record its first year of one million visitor arrivals across the country’s land-based, cruise ship and day-tripper segments this year, Flax-Brutus said. She said, “increasing competition and increasing Caribbean tourism” had prompted the government to pursue initiatives including the establishment of direct flights and renovate public and tourism infrastructure.

“We are making enhancements to our historic attractions and tourist facilities,” she said. “Let’s face it, every Caribbean destination is selling sun, sand and sea. We want to make sure visitors have a positive, enjoyable experience in the British Virgin Islands.”
The country has recorded 239,648 land-based visitor arrivals in the first six months of 2016, a 3.4 percent increase over 2015. The country also hosted 411,211 cruise ship visitors in the first six months of this year, a whopping 48.4 percent increase over 2015, an increase largely tied to the country’s launch of a new cruise ship pier.

“We have seen a significant increase in cruise arrivals to the territory since opening the new extended cruise ship pier and Tortola Pier Park in 2015,” Flax-Brutus said earlier this year.

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