Following a busy tourism season that harked back to pre-Covid years, we are now encouraged by signs that the first post-pandemic slow season may not be so slow after all.
Indeed, much of the territory still seems to be operating at a moderately bustling pace even after the August Emancipation Festival ended last week.
We hope the community will work together to continue and expand such slow-season activity now and in the years to come.
Much of it can be attributed to enterprising businesses. Several “staycation” deals are on offer — many of them through the programme operated annually by the BVI Tourist Board. They include hotel and villa stays, car rentals, restaurant meals, yacht sails, and many more.
Kudos to the entrepreneurs taking part and leading the way.
Meanwhile, cruise ships are also scheduled to visit sporadically in the coming weeks, and well-attended events like Christmas in July and the August Emancipation Festival have provided healthy economic boosts.
This is all good news. But more can be done.
To that end, the BVITB and the rest of the government should continue to offer support by expanding on efforts like the Staycation Programme and by more actively promoting slow-season events to tourists abroad.
Conceiving new summer events is also key. Music festivals are one possibility, as are events that promote activities like cultural tours, diving, kiting, sportfishing, and others.
The community at large also has a big part to play in optimising slow season. During the coming weeks, we hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunities offered right here at home. What better time to get out and learn about the territory? To spend a weekend on a sister island? To go for a hike or eat at a new restaurant? To learn to sail or dive?
The recent tourism high season was a healthy success following a pandemic that decimated the sector for two years running. This year, first quarter arrivals suggest that 2023 might return to pre-Hurricane Irma numbers.
But even when celebrating this news, the territory must remember the crowds that can overwhelm popular sites like The Baths and Cane Garden Bay during high season. Spreading tourism activity into the summer months can be a good way to ease this winter pressure.
Slow season is a low-hanging fruit when it comes to optimising the territory’s tourism offerings. Everyone must collaborate to make the most of it.