Photo: British Virgin Islands Government Information Service. Premier Andrew Fahie also wears the hat of Tourism Minister.

ROAD TOWN, BVI-October 28th, 2020–Premier  Andrew Fahie said businesses engaged in tourism activities must be certified to receive visitors as part of Phase Three of the reopening of the tourism industry.

Premier Fahie said the criteria for receiving permission include tourism businesses being Gold Seal Certified by the BVI Tourist Board-H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC).

The Premier said, “HLSCC, Culinary and Hospitality Studies Department has designed a program to prepare workers to re-enter the Tourism Industry with health and safety at its core in the New Regular of living and working with COVID-19. Participants must attend all online sessions of the program to be eligible to receive internationally recognized certification.”

In addition to the certification, businesses must also be certified by the Environmental Health Department, and must obtain permission for reopening from the Premier’s Office, through the BVI Tourist Board.

Premier Fahie while speaking on the significance of being a certified property in the COVID-19 era said, “I want to emphasize that the Gold Seal certification is not just for our internal purposes. On the one hand, it helps us to establish controls in terms of ensuring that visitors are not being put at risk, that they get quality treatment, and that we have an organized system for contact tracing.”

The Premier added that by achieving certification, it conveys to the prospective visitor that a property or your business has met the requirements to provide some assurance for their safety.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a tourist in this uncertain time of COVID-19, no doubt you would prefer the property or service provider that has some kind of certification or accreditation over the ones that do not have it – not just locally, but when choosing a country for your trip,” he said.

Properties will be monitored to ensure that they remain complaint with industry standards.

The BVI has already announced one of the world’s toughest regimens for Covid-19 testing for tourists this winter, but infection control supervision in resorts, restaurants, and other businesses is another important arm to the battle to contain Covid-19, and it appears that the BVI is attacking the problem from all angles.