After the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the British Virgin Islands’ tourism industry had made serious headway recovering. Since losing over 90 percent of its accommodations and attractions last fall, the territory expects to have 75 percent of its marine berths and 37 percent of its land accommodations reopened by the end of 2018, with many of these returning with upgrades.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina began offering partial rooms and suites in early October and expects to open up its entire inventory by the end of December. The resort has introduced six new villas and plans to unveil another three in early December.
Oil Nut Bay will begin offering one-bedroom Bay Suites this December. Elsewhere at the resort, a new 93-slip marina village and helipad will help facilitate travel between the property and neighboring islands.
Richard Branson’s Necker Island has reopened. The private island’s ‘Great House’ returned expanded from nine rooms to 11. The resort’s ‘Bali High’ complex has been rebuilt with an extended pool and outdoor lounge. The property also added private plunge pools to each individual house.
Several other resorts throughout the British Virgin Islands have already reopened. Anegada Beach Club returned earlier this year with new glamping accommodations. Guana Island began welcoming guests again in August and recently reopened its organic farm with the addition of three more greenhouses. The 24-room Sugar Mill Hotel fully reopened December 1 with a new beach restaurant and bar, Tramonti.
Additionally, other resorts have made plans to reopen after 2018 ends. Rosewood Little Dix Bay, a luxury resort on Virgin Gorda, expects to reopen in late 2019. Bitter End Yacht Club will open its marina in spring 2019 and its resort in early 2020.
By the end of 2018, the British Virgin Islands expect to have 3,200 berths available. Tortola Pier Park has been renovated and opened for business. The territory expects over 200 port calls and 400,000 passengers in the 2018/2019 season.
In early September, Disney Cruise Line made its return to the territory. Norwegian Cruise Line followed in October. On December 19, Celebrity Cruises’ new Celebrity Edge will dock at Tortola for its inaugural voyage.
Airlines and Ferries
The islands have already regained full airlift and ferry capacity. Taddy Bay Airport in Virgin Goda reopened on November 2 and interCaribbean Airways has expanded service between San Juan and Tortola. The Auguste George Airport on Anegada is also reopened and anticipating expanded flights from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Anegada Express Ferry now transports visitors between Tortola and Anegada every day. The new Sensations Ferries and Water Taxi runs between Road Town, Tortola and Virgin Gorda. New Horizon’s ferry service, which sails between West End Tortola and Great Harbor Jost Van Dyke, introduced a new multi-deck, air-conditioned ferry with beach access.