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Presentation of the British Virgin Islands

Member state: United Kingdom
Surface area (km2): 153
Population: 28 213
Density (/km2): 2879,3
Capital: Road Town, Tortola

Location

Approximately, 60 miles / 80 km East of Puerto Rico.

Topography

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are 60 small islands and cays the four largest being Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. The total area is 59 square miles. The BVIs lie approximately 60 miles east of Puerto Rico.

Climate

The BVI benefits from a subtropical climate tempered by trade winds. Temperatures in summer average from 79-88°F (26-31°C) and between 72-82°F (22-28°C) in winter. Rainfall averages approximately 40 inches (102cm) per year. The wettest months are from September to December, the driest are February to April.

Economic activities

Financial Services and Tourism.
Main facts- The BVI economy has two distinct economic pillars namely Tourism and Financial Services. Developments in the financial services industries have led to a significant expansion of the economy over the last 25 years. The GDP in 2010 was US$894,440,000 the GDP per capita is one of the highest in the Caribbean region. The sustained growth of these sectors has led to a significant expansion of the economy over the last 25 years. In 2010 GDP stood at US$894,440,000, while GDP per capita was US$30,282, one of the highest in the Caribbean region.

Political and administrative status

Democtratic.
The British Virgin Islands are an internally self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. Queen Elisabeth II is Head of State who is represented in the Territory by a Governor appointed on the advice of the British Government. The Head of Government, referred to as Premier, and a Cabinet of Ministers, is chosen following a general election, and sit as members of the legislature in the House of Assembly. Premier Dr. Hon. D. Orlando Smith of the National Democratic Party (NDP) is currently Head of Government.

Universities/specialities

The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College was established in 1990 and is named after its founding chairman. The main campus is at Paraquita Bay and there is also a smaller campus located in Virgin Gorda. Since its inception, the college has provided students with unique learning opportunities and traditional college services.

Focus

BVI: Economic diversification and sustainable tourism

The newly elected Government of the Virgin Islands has made economic diversification a centrepiece of THE BVI’s development. One economic objective is to develop trade in non-financial services to lessen the Territory’s dependency on tourism and financial services and to boost the economy’s resiliency to external shocks.

Against this goal, the Department of Trade & Consumer Affairs is strengthening its Small Business Bureau (SBB) to help small and medium enterprises develop and expand their operations. Focus areas of the SSB will include business development, market access and export promotion.

The Government has also made it a goal to ensure that existing industries such as tourism are sustainable and economically viable over the long-term. In response the BVI Tourist Board launched its Sustainable Tourism Environmental Programme (STEP) aimed at helping hotel and other property owners manage their dwellings in an environmentally friendly way. Among other things, the programme will provide property managers with Standard Operating Best Practices that are instrumental for each property becoming sustainable and provide training for members of staff at the properties.

The overall goal of STEP is to reposition the BVI in the global marketplace as a tourism destination committed to sustainable development.