Today VIPCA Interviewed with Buzz Radio 104.3 updating the VI about the additional fees in the BVIs effective 1st Sept.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND TOURISM LEVY EFFECTIVE ALL YEAR:
Visitors to the Virgin Islands are being advised that effective September 1, an environmental and tourism levy of $10.00 will be collected on arrival at the ports of entry.
The Environmental Protection and Tourism Improvement Fund Act, 2017 which was passed on June 9, and subsequently gazetted on June 12, states that all visitors arriving to the Territory via air or sea are required to pay the levy.
The legislation makes provision for the following persons to be exempted:
- residents and belongers;
- non-residents two years or under;
- officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court;
- guests of the Government;
- official representatives of the Government of any country/Territory;
- persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance; and
- persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette.
- Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the Virgin Islands on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit; persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock; and crew of vessels.
All visitors must have the necessary documents available to help determine their status.
The monies collected will be used to facilitate environmental protection and improvement, climate change, and the maintenance and development of tourist sites and other tourism related activities.
VIPCA is so proud to support MVP – the Marine Vocational Program.
MVP students will enrol in the VIPCA Marine Apprenticeships and all receive scholarships to support their ambitions to be Captains. Keep up the good work Jimmy Loveland and thank you for your inspirational work.
Executive Director Oriel Blake spends one day a week training 8-10 students from the Boys and Girls club, St Thomas.
Training is mostly hands on boat handling skills using the MVP power vessel and dinghy as well as snorkel and swimming classes, scuba diving, kayaking, line/rope handling (throwing, anchoring, splicing, mooring, securing moorings and warps, knot tying…. but also theory classes about boat handling, passage making, rules of the road, safety onboard, fire prevention, sea survival…
If you’re interested in volunteering or funding MVP directly please contact email@example.com
Foreign (USVI) boat/yacht charter companies are required to pay $16 per person per day to charter in the BVIs (previously $4/p/day)… and not just in high season, all year round, term or day charter.
This morning in a radio interview on Buzz 104.3 VIPCA reminds USVI charter vessel operators to stay compliant.
10% off at Marinas American Yacht Harbour and Puerto Del Rey with your VIPCA membership card.
VIPCA proposes a Marine Development Plan of four stages:
- Career Guidance Talks: Visits to schools by VIPCA’s Executive Director Oriel Blake, St Thomas Sail and Power Squadron’s Cdr Dr. Lawrence Benjamin and the Captain’s School owner Capt Rob Alport. Seminars to be given in USVI Schools to students age 16-18 informing them oabout the potential of careers in the Marine Industry in the Territory, both on the water as Captains and crew, and ashore in marine and marine related services. Information to be given on the opportunities to attend the USVI Charter Yacht Show open day on 14th November, and to learn about VIPCA Apprenticeships and Scholarships in the Marine Industry for School leavers.
- USVI Charter Yacht Show Schools Open Day 14th November 2017: VIPCA to provide the opportunity for students who applied during the Career Guidance Talks to speak directly to the crews and captains, and to walk the docks where 50 Charter Vessels will be showcasing.
- Apprenticeships: for successful candidates who show commitment to learning to swim and participate in customer service training. 6-10 apprenticeships will be managed by VIPCA with Cruise Ship Excursions during summer 2018.
- Scholarships: from Yacht Haven Grande for students that have left school and have completed apprenticeships with Cruise Ship Excursions, having demonstrated commitment and motivation towards careers in the Marine Industry. Scholarships will pay for STCW qualifications for Crew (at the Captains School) or alternatively, vocational techinical training in mechanics or another marine related career of their choosing. Community Foundation Virgin Islands (CFVI) will handle the scholarship funds on VIPCA’s behalf using their 501c(3) tax-exempt status.
The Marine Action Group, Marine Vocational Program and VIPCA have formulated this plan jointly, to boost employment in the USVI Marine Industry by working together with local marine businesses.
VIPCA envisages, with the support of the Department of Education in these initiatives, that within five years the U.S. Virgin Islands will see a notable increase in the Marine Industry of U.S. Virgin Islanders. With improved employment of Virgin Islanders both on the water and on the shore, the industry’s reputation would be improved as well as its’ productivity, which ultimately would advance the economy as the USVI marine industry expands.
Discounts with your Vessel Membership with VIPCA Associates!
VIPCA TESTIMONY: In favour of new proposed legislation for Marine Biology to be taught in high school to all students from year 9, to be heard in St Croix Chambers hearing of Bill 32-0006 on June 14th 2017.
Amendment: SECTION 1. Title 17 Virgin Islands Code, chapter 5, section 41, subsection (c) “(8) Marine Biology for grade 9…”
Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, my name is Oriel Blake and I am the Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association, known as VIPCA. VIPCA is the U.S. Virgin Islands’ only non-profit marine charter association. VIPCA’s goals include encouraging Virgin Islands youth into the marine industry for employment as well as promoting marine conservation. Educating school children in marine biology from year nine to improve their understanding of the marine environment is paramount to both of these causes. VIPCA supports the amendment proposed to Bill 32-0006.
The youth of today need to understand the marine environment that helps support life on this planet, and more specifically the Virgin islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands coral reefs are in decline: Elkhorn and Staghorn coral in the Territory is listed as threatened, and is protected federally under the United States Endangered Species Act as well through local law. Natural stressors such as hurricanes cannot be avoided, however man-made stressors like polution can be. For example the sunsceens used by thousands of cruise ship passengers cause reef bleaching; if responsibilty was taken then the negative impact of humans on Virgin Islands coral reefs could even be reversed.
Marine Biology can educate school children about local species and habitats, and how to stop polluting factors which harm them. Climate change, coral reef bleaching, invasive species, endagered species and overfishing all are of great concern to the future of the islands. Promoting conservation and encouraging change in the way we treat the environment is important to maintaining the ecosystems that protect the U.S. Virgin Islands coastlines. By educating students from year 9 and up in marine biology, the youth of tomorrow will learn to teach their children how treat the marine environment with respect. Career oportunites in the marine industry will open for these students, from employment promoting and protecting the marine life such as in the National Parks or Coral World, to working in the marine charter industry as captains or crew. Through consistent conservation of the Caribbean sea surrounding the Virgin Islands, not only will the marine environment be healthier, but tourism greater and the economy that depends upon our beaches stronger.