Increased visitor numbers in 2016, a robust calendar of events, hotel upgrades and expansions and the launch of a rewards program for agents point to another strong year for the British Virgin Islands.
In addition, the British Virgin Islands received a visibility boost last month with the arrival of the Obamas for a vacation at Richard Branson's private Necker Island estate.
The couple was photographed with the staff at the T. B. Lettsome Airport on Tortola. "As their visit relates to our tourism product, I think it will give the [British Virgin Islands] a positive boost," said Archibald Christian, junior minister of tourism.
For 2016, cruise ship visitors jumped 35% over 2015, to 699,105 passengers, stayover visits were up 3% and daytrippers surged 36% over last year, bringing the total visitor count in the British Virgin Islands to 1.1 million, 22% ahead of the previous year.
On the hotel front, Rosewood Little Dix Bay is slated to reopen in December following an 18-month renovation project that included guestrooms, suites and updates to its gardens and three restaurants.
Quito's Gazebo and Inn, a boutique property with 21 rooms, will debut this December in Cane Garden Bay on the northwest side of Tortola, across from the long-standing Quito's beachside bar and restaurant.
Turtle Bay, also on Tortola, will unveil its upgraded cottages, suites and new restaurant this fall, and White Bay Villas on 3-square-mile Jost Van Dyke is adding eight more villas and a restaurant this year.
Pending government approval, BVI Airways plans to launch flights between Miami and Tortola in mid-May.
The Rolex Swan Caribbean Cup runs from March 1 to 5 and features yacht racing and is followed by the Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival March 27 to April 2 with races, cruising and parties throughout the archipelago.