Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hon. Ralph O'Neal Speaks About Financial Situation in the BVI Tourist Board

Hon. Ralph O’Neal, the new premier of the British Virgin Islands, which also holds responsibility for tourism, has temporarily banned traveling overseas by employees of the BVI Tourist Board. The purpose of this measure is to prevent further depletion of the statutory body's financial situation.

Addressing the territory's community, Premier O'Neal suggested that the BVI TB needs tighter fiscal management. He said: “There is no doubt, my dear people, that the financial situation with the Tourist Board is grim and in order to prevent the situation becoming worse I had to put a ban on traveling of the employees until I could get a clear picture of the whole situation, I am aware that some things are already paid for especially in the American and European markets and once proper representation is made I am prepared to allow that.”

Further he explained that the BVI Tourist Board, which was very important function of advertising and promoting these islands as a tourist paradise, in the year 2006 was instructed to spend $1,696,891 from their operating budget in capital works, such as the Queen Elizabeth Park, Gun Creek Project phase one, Architectural and management fees. Up to June 2007, the Tourist Board spent the amount of $730,222. These amounts were to be refunded by the Central Government.

It should be said that in the last years, a lot of work was done for popularization of the British Virgin Islands not only as business centre but also as the centre of tourism. It is not a secret that BVI economy depends to a large extent on touristic and financial services sectors, and expenses on marketing may be quite large.

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