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In order to book an accommodation on British Virgin Islands enter the proper dates and do the hotel search. If needed, sort the found British Virgin Islands hotels by price, star rating, property type, guest rating, hotel features, hotel theme or hotel chain. Then take a look at the found hotels on British Virgin Islands map to estimate the distance from the main British Virgin Islands attractions and sights. You can also read the guest reviews of British Virgin Islands hotels and see their ratings.

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Hotels of British Virgin Islands

A hotel on British Virgin Islands is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on British Virgin Islands hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on British Virgin Islands are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some British Virgin Islands hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most British Virgin Islands hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on British Virgin Islands have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on British Virgin Islands
An upscale full service hotel facility on British Virgin Islands that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury British Virgin Islands hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on British Virgin Islands
Full service British Virgin Islands hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on British Virgin Islands
Boutique hotels of British Virgin Islands are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. British Virgin Islands boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on British Virgin Islands may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on British Virgin Islands
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of British Virgin Islands travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most British Virgin Islands focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on British Virgin Islands
Small to medium-sized British Virgin Islands hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded British Virgin Islands traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service British Virgin Islands hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on British Virgin Islands
A bed and breakfast on British Virgin Islands is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, British Virgin Islands bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical British Virgin Islands B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many British Virgin Islands hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on British Virgin Islands
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized British Virgin Islands hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on British Virgin Islands lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on British Virgin Islands often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of British Virgin Islands on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on British Virgin Islands
A British Virgin Islands motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of British Virgin Islands for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of British Virgin Islands motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation on British Virgin Islands

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 / 18.500; -64.500

British Virgin Islands
Flag of British Virgin Islands
Flag
Coat of arms of British Virgin Islands
Coat of arms
Motto: "Vigilate" (Latin)
"Be Vigilant"
Anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Territorial song: "Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands"
Location of  British Virgin Islands  (circled in red)
Location of British Virgin Islands (circled in red)
Location of British Virgin Islands
Status British Overseas Territory
Capital
and largest city
Road Town
 / 18.431383; -64.623050
Official languages English
Ethnic groups
  • 76.5% Black
  • 7% White
  • 5% Hispanic
  • 5% Multiracial
  • 2% East Indian
  • 4.5% Other
Demonym Virgin Islander
Government Parliamentary dependency under constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Elizabeth II
• Governor
Augustus Jaspert
• Deputy Governor
V. Inez Archibald
• Premier
Orlando Smith
• Responsible Minister (UK)
Baroness Anelay of St Johns
Legislature House of Assembly
Established as a dependency of the United Kingdom
• Separate
1960
• Autonomy
1967
Area
• Total
153 km (59 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.6
Population
• 2010 census
28,054 (212th)
• Density
260/km (673.4/sq mi) (68th)
GDP (PPP) estimate
• Total
$853.4 million
• Per capita
$43,366
Currency United States dollar (USD)
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
Calling code +1-284
ISO 3166 code VG
Internet TLD .vg
  1. Source for all ethnic groups including labels: 2010 Census of Population
  2. For the Overseas Territories.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited. The capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, which is about 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom approximately 23,500 lived on Tortola; the latest estimate (2016) is 30,800.

British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.

Parts of the islands were damaged in September 2017 by Hurricane Irma and an estimated ten people were killed by the storm. The most severe destruction appeared to be on Tortola.

British Virgin Islands: Name

The official name of the territory is still simply the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is often used. This is commonly believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the Territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands. British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", and the territory's passports simply refer to the "Virgin Islands", and all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands". Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands". But various public and quasi public bodies continue to use the name "British Virgin Islands" or "BVI", including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.

In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say "British Virgin Islands" (whereas previously they had simply stated "Virgin Islands"), a practice which is still followed today. This was likely to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, and the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory.

British Virgin Islands: History

The Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC (though there is some evidence of Amerindian presence on the islands as far back as 1500 BC). The Arawaks inhabited the islands until the 15th century when they were displaced by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named.

The first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins), shortened to Las Vírgenes (The Virgins), after the legend of Saint Ursula.

The Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, and subsequent years saw the English, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates. There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period, although most of the native population on nearby Saint Croix was killed or dispersed.

The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648. In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, and the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680. Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix.

The ruins of St. Phillip's Church, Tortola, one of the most important historical ruins in the territory.

The British islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were planted when economic conditions were particularly favourable. The British introduced sugar cane which was to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, and slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations. The islands prospered economically until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a combination of the abolition of slavery in the territory, a series of disastrous hurricanes, and the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States significantly reduced sugar cane production and led to a period of economic decline.

In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands.

The British Virgin Islands were administered variously as part of the British Leeward Islands or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands. The islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. Since the 1960s, the islands have diversified away from their traditionally agriculture-based economy towards tourism and financial services, becoming one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean.

British Virgin Islands: Geography

Map of British Virgin Islands (Note: Anegada is farther away from the other islands than shown)

The British Virgin Islands comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, Tortola 20 km (12 mi) long and 5 km (3 mi) wide, to tiny uninhabited islets, altogether about 150 square kilometres (58 square miles) in extent. They are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, a few miles east of the US Virgin Islands. The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the north of the islands, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the south. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin and have a hilly, rugged terrain. Anegada is geologically distinct from the rest of the group and is a flat island composed of limestone and coral.

In addition to the four main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke, other islands include (see also Islands of the British Virgin Islands):

  • Beef Island (connected to Tortola)
  • Cooper Island
  • Ginger Island
  • Great Camanoe
  • Great Thatch
  • Guana Island (owned by Henry Jarecki)
  • Little Thatch (owned by Curt and Nancy Richardson)
  • Mosquito Island (owned by Sir Richard Branson)
  • Necker Island (owned by Sir Richard Branson)
  • Norman Island (owned by Henry Jarecki)
  • Peter Island (owned by Van Andel family)
  • Salt Island
  • Prickly Pear
  • Eustatia
  • Saba Rock
  • Frenchman's Cay (connected to Tortola)
  • Nanny Cay (connected to Tortola)
  • Scrub Island
  • Sandy Cay
  • Green Cay
  • Sandy Spit
  • Little Jost Van Dyke
  • Great Tobago
  • Little Tobago
  • Dog Islands a.k.a. "The Dogs"

British Virgin Islands: Climate

The British Virgin Islands have a tropical rainforest climate, moderated by trade winds. Temperatures vary little throughout the year. In the capital, Road Town, typical daily maxima are around 32 °C (89.6 °F) in the summer and 29 °C (84.2 °F) in the winter. Typical daily minima are around 24 °C (75.2 °F) in the summer and 21 °C (69.8 °F) in the winter. Rainfall averages about 1,150 mm (45.3 in) per year, higher in the hills and lower on the coast. Rainfall can be quite variable, but the wettest months on average are September to November and the driest months on average are February and March.

Climate data for Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33
(91)
32
(89)
32
(89)
35
(95)
34
(93)
35
(95)
35
(95)
36
(96)
35
(95)
33
(92)
33
(91)
31
(87)
36
(96)
Average high °C (°F) 26
(79)
27
(80)
28
(82)
29
(84)
29
(85)
30
(86)
31
(87)
31
(87)
30
(86)
29
(85)
28
(82)
27
(80)
28.8
(83.6)
Average low °C (°F) 20
(68)
19
(67)
20
(68)
21
(69)
22
(71)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(71)
21
(69)
21.6
(70.6)
Record low °C (°F) 17
(62)
16
(60)
16
(60)
17
(62)
18
(64)
18
(65)
19
(66)
19
(66)
16
(61)
18
(64)
17
(63)
16
(60)
16
(60)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 74.2
(2.92)
63.2
(2.49)
55.4
(2.18)
84.6
(3.33)
116.6
(4.59)
70.6
(2.78)
83.1
(3.27)
112
(4.4)
156
(6.14)
133.4
(5.25)
178.8
(7.04)
112
(4.4)
1,239.9
(48.79)
Source: Intellicast

British Virgin Islands: Natural disasters

Hurricanes occasionally hit the islands, with the hurricane season running from June to November. Hurricane Danny (2015) was the most recent until 7 September 2017 when Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage, particularly on Tortola, as well as four deaths in the BVI. A state of emergency was declared by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. The most significant damage was on Tortola. The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited Tortola on 13 September 2017 and said that he was reminded of photos of Hiroshima after it had been hit by the atom bomb.

By 8 September, the UK government sent troops with medical supplies and other aid. More troops were expected to arrive a day or two later, but the ship HMS Ocean, carrying more extensive assistance, was not expected to reach the islands for another two weeks, however.

Entrepreneur Richard Branson, a resident of Necker Island (British Virgin Islands), called on the UK government to develop a massive disaster recovery plan for British islands that were damaged. That should include "both through short-term aid and long-term infrastructure spending", he said. Premier Orlando Smith also called for a comprehensive aid package to rebuild the BVI. On 10 September, PM Theresa May pledged £32 million to the Caribbean for a Hurricane relief fund; the UK government would also match donations made by the public via the British Red Cross appeal. Specifics were not provided to the news media as to the amount that would be allocated to the Virgin Islands. Boris Johnson's visit to Tortola on 13 September 2017 during his Caribbean tour was intended to confirm the UK's commitment to helping restore British islands but he provided no additional comments on the aid package. He did confirm that HMS Ocean (L12) was on the way to the BVI items like timber, buckets, bottled water, food, baby milk, bedding and clothing, as well as ten pickup trucks, building materials and hardware.

British Virgin Islands: Politics

Legislative Council building in Road Town. The High Court sits upstairs.
Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions

The territory operates as a parliamentary democracy. Ultimate executive authority in British Virgin Islands is vested in the Queen, and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor of the British Virgin Islands. The governor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the British government. Defence and most foreign affairs remain the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

The most recent constitution was adopted in 2007 (the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007) and came into force when the Legislative Council was dissolved for the 2007 general election. The head of government under the constitution is the Premier (before the new constitution the office was referred to as Chief Minister), who is elected in a general election along with the other members of the ruling government as well as the members of the opposition. Elections are held roughly every four years. A cabinet is nominated by the Premier and appointed and chaired by the Governor. The Legislature consists of the Queen (represented by the Governor) and a unicameral House of Assembly made up of 13 elected members plus the Speaker and the Attorney General.

The current Governor is Augustus Jaspert (since 22 August 2017). The current Premier is Orlando Smith (since 9 November 2011), who is leader of the ruling National Democratic Party.

British Virgin Islands: Subdivisions

The British Virgin Islands is a unitary territory. The territory is divided into nine electoral districts, and each voter is registered in one of those districts. Eight of the nine districts are partly or wholly on Tortola, and encompass nearby neighbouring islands. Only the ninth district (Virgin Gorda and Anegada) does not include any part of Tortola. At elections, in addition to voting their local representative, voters also cast votes for four "at-large" candidates who are elected upon a territory-wide basis.

The territory is also technically divided into five administrative districts (one for each of the four largest islands, and then a fifth for all other islands), and into six civil registry districts (three for Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada) although these have little practical relevance today.

British Virgin Islands: Law and criminal justice

Crime in the British Virgin Islands is comparatively low by Caribbean standards (and indeed compared to the neighbouring US Virgin Islands). Whilst statistics and hard data are relatively rare, and are not regularly published by governmental sources in the British Virgin Islands, the Premier did announce that in 2013 there has been a 14% decline in recorded crime as against 2012. Homicides are rare, with just one incident recorded in 2013. The British and US Virgin Islands sit at the axis of a major drugs transshipment point between Latin America and the continental United States. The American DEA regards the adjacent US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area". A co-operation agreement exists between the British Virgin Islands and the US Coast Guard allowing American forces to pursue suspected drug traffickers through the territorial waters of the British Virgin Islands. In August 2011 a joint raid between the American DEA and the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force arrested a number of British Virgin Islands residents who are accused of being involved in major drugs transshipments, although their extradition to the United States has become bogged down in protracted legal wrangling.

British Virgin Islands: Military

British Virgin Islands: Economy

Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

As a tax haven with an opaque banking system, the British Virgin Islands enjoys one of the more prosperous economies of the Caribbean region, with a per capita average income of around $42,300 (2010 est.) The average monthly income earned by a worker in the territory was US$2,452 as at the time of the 2010 Census. 29% of the population fell into the "low income" category.

Although it is common to hear criticism in the British Virgin Islands' press about income inequality, no serious attempt has been made by economists to calculate a Gini coefficient or similar measure of income equality for the territory. A report from 2000 suggested that, despite the popular perception, income inequality was actually lower in the British Virgin Islands than in any other OECS state, although in global terms income equality is higher in the Caribbean than in many other regions.

The "twin pillars" of the economy are tourism and financial services. Politically, tourism is the more important of the two, as it employs a greater number of people within the territory, and a larger proportion of the businesses in the tourist industry are locally owned, as are a number of the highly tourism-dependent sole traders (for example, taxi drivers and street vendors). Economically however, financial services associated with the territory's status as an offshore financial centre are by far the more important. 51.8% of the Government's revenue comes directly from licence fees for offshore companies, and considerable further sums are raised directly or indirectly from payroll taxes relating to salaries paid within the trust industry sector (which tend to be higher on average than those paid in the tourism sector).

British Virgin Islands: Tourism

The Baths, Virgin Gorda

Tourism accounts for approximately 45% of national income. The islands are a popular destination for US citizens. In 2006 a total of 825,603 people visited the islands, of whom 443,987 were cruise ship passengers. Tourists frequent the numerous white sand beaches, visit The Baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkel the coral reefs near Anegada, or experience the well-known bars of Jost Van Dyke. The BVI are known as one of the world's greatest sailing destinations, and charter sailboats are a very popular way to visit less accessible islands. Every year since 1972 the BVI has hosted the Spring Regatta, which is a seven-day collection of sailing races throughout the islands. A substantial number of the tourists who visit the BVI are cruise ship passengers, and although they produce far lower revenue per head than charter boat tourists and hotel based tourists, they are nonetheless important to the substantial - and politically important - taxi driving community. Only Virgin Islanders are permitted to work as taxi drivers.

British Virgin Islands: Financial services

Financial services account for over half of the income of the territory. The majority of this revenue is generated by the licensing of offshore companies and related services. The British Virgin Islands is a significant global player in the offshore financial services industry. In 2000 KPMG reported in its survey of offshore jurisdictions for the United Kingdom government that over 45% of the world's offshore companies were formed in the British Virgin Islands. Since 2001, financial services in the British Virgin Islands have been regulated by the independent Financial Services Commission.

At the end of 2012 the banking sector of the British Virgin Islands comprised six commercial banks and one restricted bank, 12 authorised custodians, two licensed money services businesses and one licensed financing service provider.

As such the British Virgin Islands is frequently labelled as a "tax haven" by campaigners and NGOs, and has been expressly named in anti-tax haven legislation in other countries on various occasions. Successive governments in the British Virgin Islands have fought against the tax haven label, and made various commitments to tax exchange and recording beneficial ownership information of companies following the 2013 G8 summit. On 10 September 2013 British Prime Minister David Cameron said "I do not think it is fair any longer to refer to any of the Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies as tax havens. They have taken action to make sure that they have fair and open tax systems. It is very important that our focus should now shift to those territories and countries that really are tax havens."

In the April 2016 Panama Papers leak, the British Virgin Islands was the most commonly used tax haven by clients of Mossack Fonseca.

British Virgin Islands: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

On June 30, 2014, The British Virgin Islands was deemed to have an Inter- Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States of America with respect to the "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" of the United States of America.

The Model 1 Agreement (14 Pages) recognizes that:

The Government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland provided a copy of the Letter of Entrustment which was sent to the Government of the British Virgin Islands, to the Government of the United States of America "via diplomatic note of May 28, 2014".

The Letter of Entrustment dated July 14, 2010 was originally provided to the Government of the British Virgin Islands and authorized the Govt of the BVI "to negotiate and conclude Agreements relating to taxation that provide for exchange of information on tax matters to the OECD standard" (Paragraph 2 of the FATCA Agreement).

Via an "Entrustment Letter" dated March 24, 2014, The Govt of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, authorized the Govt of the BVI to sign an agreement on information exchange to facilitate the Implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

On March 27, 2017, the US Treasury site disclosed that the Model 1 agreement and related agreement were "In Force" on July 13, 2015.

British Virgin Islands: Agriculture and industry

Agriculture and industry account for only a small proportion of the islands' GDP. Agricultural produce includes fruit, vegetables, sugar cane, livestock and poultry, and industries include rum distillation, construction and boat building.

British Virgin Islands: Currency

The official currency of the British Virgin Islands has been the United States dollar (US$) since 1959, the currency also used by the United States Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands: Workforce

The British Virgin Islands is heavily dependent on migrant workers, and over 50% of all workers on the islands are of a foreign descent. Only 37% of the entire population were born in the territory. The national labour-force is estimated at 12,770, of whom approximately 59.4% work in the service sector but less than 0.6% are estimated to work in agriculture (the balance in industry).

British Virgin Islands: CARICOM status & The CARICOM Single Market Economy

According to the membership section of the CARICOM Community site, as of July 2, 1991, The British Virgin Islands holds Associate Member status in CARICOM.

In recognition of the CARICOM (Free Movement) Skilled Persons Act which came into effect in July 1997 in some of the CARICOM countries such as Jamaica and which has been adopted in other CARICOM countries, such as Trinidad and Tobago, it is possible that CARICOM nationals who hold the "A Certificate of Recognition of Caribbean Community Skilled Person" may be allowed to work in the BVI under normal working conditions.

British Virgin Islands: Transport

There are 113 kilometres (70 mi) of roads. The main airport, Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport, also known as Beef Island Airport, is located on Beef Island, which lies off the eastern tip of Tortola and is accessible by the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Cape Air, LIAT and Air Sunshine are amongst the airlines offering scheduled service. Virgin Gorda and Anegada have their own smaller airports. Private air charter services operated by Island Birds Air Charter fly directly to all three islands from any major airport in the Caribbean. Helicopters are used to get to islands with no runway facilities; Antilles Helicopter Services is the only helicopter service based in the country. The main harbour is in Road Town. There are also ferries that operate within the British Virgin Islands and to the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands. As in the UK and in the United States Virgin Islands, cars in the British Virgin Islands drive on the left, however they differ in that nearly all cars are left hand drive, being imported from the United States. The roads are often quite steep, narrow and winding, and ruts can be a problem when it rains.

Cyril E. King Airport in the US Virgin Islands has flights to a wider range of destinations, so is also used for travelling to the British Virgin Islands.

British Virgin Islands: Demographics

As of the 2010 Census, the population of the territory was 28,054 At the time of the 2003 census the population was around 21,730. The majority of the population (83%) are Afro-Caribbean, descended from slaves brought to the islands by the British. Other large ethnic groups include those of British and other European origin.

The 2004 Census reports:

  • 83.4% African
  • 7% European/Caucasian
  • 9.6% Others*

* Includes Indian, Carib/Amerindian, Black/Carib mixed, and mixed-race Hispanic

The 2010 Census reports the main places of origin of residents as follows:

  • 37% local born (many locals go to St. Thomas or the United States for maternity services)
  • 7.2% Guyana
  • 7.0% St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • 6.0% Jamaica
  • 5.5% United States
  • 5.4% Dominican Republic
  • 5.3% United States Virgin Islands

* Includes Indian, Carib/Amerindian, Black/Carib mixed, and mixed-race Hispanic.

About 4% of the population is of Hispanic origin, irrespective of race, primarily from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The territory has also been recently relieving immigrants from many islands in Lesser Antilles. The islands are heavily dependent upon migrant labour. In 2004, migrant workers accounted for 50% of the total population. 32% of workers employed in the British Virgin Islands work for the government.

Unusually, the territory has one of the highest drowning mortality rates in the world being higher than other high risk countries such as China and India. 20% of deaths in the British Virgin Islands during 2012 were recorded as drownings, all of them being tourists. Despite this, the territory's most popular beach still has no lifeguard presence.

British Virgin Islands: Education

The British Virgin Islands operates several government schools as well as private schools. There is also a community college, H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, that is located on the eastern end of Tortola. This college was named after Lavity Stoutt, the first Chief Minister of the British Virgin Islands. It is extremely common for students from the British Virgin Islands to travel overseas for tertiary education, either to the University of the West Indies, or to colleges and universities in either the United Kingdom, United States, or Canada.

The literacy rate in the British Virgin Islands is high at 98%.

British Virgin Islands: Religion

Over 90% of the population who indicated a religious affiliation at the 2010 Census were Christian with the largest individual Christian denominations being Methodist (17.6%), Anglican (12%), Church of God (11%) and Roman Catholic (9%). The Constitution of the British Virgin Islands commences with a professed national belief in God. Hindus and Muslims constitute each approximately 1.2% of the population according to Word Religion Database 2005.

Religion
in % of population
National Census 2001
2001 1991
Methodist 22.7 32.9
Anglican 11.6 16.7
Church of God 11.4 9.2
Roman Catholic 9.5 10.5
Pentecostal 9.1 4.1
Seventh Day Adventist 8.4 6.3
Baptist 8.2 4.7
None 6.4 3.6
Other 3.4 4.4
Not stated 2.7 1.1
Jehovah's Witnesses 2.2 2.1
Hindu 2.0 2.2
Muslim 0.9 0.6
Evangelical 0.5
Moravian 0.5 0.6
Rastafarian 0.4 0.2
Presbyterian 0.4 0.7
Bahai 0.03 0.00
Brethren 0.03 0.04
Salvation Army 0.03 0.04

British Virgin Islands: Culture

British Virgin Islands: Language

The primary language is English, although there is a local dialect. Spanish is spoken by Puerto Rican, Dominican and other Spanish-speaking immigrants.

British Virgin Islands: Music

The traditional music of the British Virgin Islands is called fungi after the local cornmeal dish with the same name, often made with okra. The special sound of fungi is due to a unique local fusion between African and European music. It functions as a medium of local history and folklore and is therefore a cherished cultural form of expression that is part of the curriculum in BVI schools. The fungi bands, also called "scratch bands", use instruments ranging from calabash, washboard, bongos and ukulele, to more traditional western instruments like keyboard, banjo, guitar, bass, triangle and saxophone. Apart from being a form of festive dance music, fungi often contains humorous social commentaries, as well as BVI oral history.

British Virgin Islands: Literature

Among the noted names in Virgin Islands literature are Alphaeus Osario Norman (1885-1942), Verna Penn Moll, Jennie Wheatley, and Patricia G. Turnbull. Their poetry and that of 22 other writers, including the fastly emerging poet and literary critic Richard Georges, can be found in Where I See the Sun – Contemporary Poetry in The Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke), an anthology edited by Lasana M. Sekou in 2016.

British Virgin Islands: Sport

Because of its location and climate the British Virgin Islands has long been a haven for sailing enthusiasts. Sailing is regarded as one of the foremost sports in all of the BVI. Calm waters and steady breezes provide some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean.

Many sailing events are held in the waters of this country, the largest of which is a week-long series of races called the Spring Regatta, the premier sailing event of the Caribbean, with several races hosted each day. Boats include everything from full-size mono-hull yachts to dinghies. Captains and their crews come from all around the world to attend these races. The Spring Regatta is part race, part party, part festival. There are races, games, and music during the day, and some partying at night. The Spring Regatta is normally held during the first week of April.

Since 2009, the BVI have made a name for themselves as a host of international basketball events. The BVI hosted three of the last four events of the Caribbean Basketball Championship (FIBA CBC Championship).

British Virgin Islands: See also

  • Outline of the British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: References

  1. The BVI Beacon "Portrait of a population: 2010 Census published" pg. 4, 20 November 2014
  2. "The World Factbook". cia.gov.
  3. According to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order, 2007, the territory's official name is simply 'Virgin Islands'.
  4. The BVI Beacon "Portrait of a population: 2010 Census published" pg. 4, 20 November 2014 confirms that on Census date, 23,419 lived on Tortola
  5. Although under Council Regulation No. 1932/2006 BOTCs "without the right of abode in the UK" were classified as non-EU nationals, the conferment of British citizenship in 2002 means most BOTCs acquired the right of abode in the United Kingdom along with British citizenship and hence are not considered by the EU as third-country nationals.
  6. http://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/851705/Hurricane-Irma-path-update-model-track-Virgin-Islands-damage-destruction-video
  7. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41218817
  8. http://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-reminded-of-hiroshima-on-visit-to-irma-hit-tortola-11034613
  9. Moll, Peter (15 December 2016). "Victorian news mined for VI history". BVI Beacon.
  10. "About the Territory". Government of the Virgin Islands. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  11. Wilson, Samuel M. ed. The Indigenous People of the Caribbean. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997. ISBN 0-8130-1692-4
  12. In the United Kingdom, a major market for sugar from the Territory, the Sugar Duties Act 1846 also created a considerable downward effect on the price of Caribbean sugar cane.
  13. "Virgin Gorda historic weather averages in British Virgin Islands". Intellicast. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  14. http://metro.co.uk/2017/09/07/richard-branson-devastated-about-destruction-wrought-by-hurricane-irma-6911323/
  15. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/americas/caribbean-reacts-hurricane-irma/index.html
  16. https://www.ft.com/content/35183356-9609-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0
  17. http://www.express.co.uk/news/weather/851705/Hurricane-Irma-path-update-model-track-Virgin-Islands-damage-destruction-video
  18. http://news.sky.com/story/paradise-lost-tortola-seeks-uk-aid-after-irma-11034767
  19. http://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-reminded-of-hiroshima-on-visit-to-irma-hit-tortola-11034613
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/sep/10/hurricane-irma-millions-brace-for-impact-as-superstorm-reaches-florida-live?page=with:block-59b5cfcee4b0472a2de91c8c#block-59b5cfcee4b0472a2de91c8c
  21. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/08/royal-navy-arrives-british-virgin-islands-devastated-hurricane/
  22. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/sep/10/hurricane-irma-millions-brace-for-impact-as-superstorm-reaches-florida-live?page=with:block-59b66247e4b0472a2de91ead#block-59b66247e4b0472a2de91ead
  23. http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/europe/irma-caribbean/
  24. https://www.ft.com/content/35183356-9609-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0
  25. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/10/what-we-know-so-far-about-hurricane-irma
  26. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hurricane-irma-foreign-secretarys-visit-to-the-uk-overseas-territories-in-the-Caribbean
  27. http://bvtnews.com/news/french-british-officials-view-irmas-damage-vow-island-aid.html
  28. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/853902/hurricane-irma-damage-british-virgin-islands-marines-prison-break-caribbean-storm-atlantic
  29. Explanatory Memorandum to the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007
  30. "The Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007".
  31. "Which Caribbean Islands are the Safest, Most Dangerous?". About.com. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  32. "Crimes down by 14% – Premier". BVI News. 13 January 2014.
  33. "How safe is the Caribbean? An Island by Island Look". International Business Times. 22 December 2011.
  34. "US sees shift in cocaine trafficking". BVI Beacon. 9 February 2012.
  35. US Justice Department (25 August 2011). "Thirteen Indicted for Airdropping Multi-Hundred Kilogram Quantities of Cocaine in the Caribbean Sea and for Money Laundering Offenses". Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  36. "Three Years On & Extradition Proceedings Still Unsettled". BVI Platinum. 8 September 2014.
  37. Fox, Ben (2009-05-09). "Islands resent crackdown of the tax havens by G-20". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  38. McKenzie, Nick; Baker, Richard (2013-11-18). "Leighton Holdings linked to 'corrupt' fees for Iraq pipeline contracts". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-04-02. (subscription required)
  39. CIA. Economy: British Virgin Islands. The World Factbook, CIA publications, 19 December. 2006. Retrieved 25 December. 2006.
  40. Dennis C. Canterbury. European Bloc Imperialism. ISBN 9004184953.
  41. Review of Financial Regulation in the Crown Dependencies (Cmnd Paper 4855 of 2000). ISBN 0_10_148554_9. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  42. "List of Banks in British Virgin Islands". thebanks.eu.
  43. "Annual Report 2012 (Final)". bvifsc.vg.
  44. Leigh, David; Frayman, Harold; Ball, James (25 November 2012). "Offshore secrets: British Virgin Islands, land of sand, sea and secrecy". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  45. See for example the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act
  46. International Adviser (12 September 2013). "Jersey, Guernsey, IoM revel in Cameron’s ‘not tax havens’ comments". BBC News (10 September 2013). "David Cameron: Crown dependency tax haven banner 'not fair'".
  47. Karmanau, Yuras (April 4, 2016). "Ukrainian president under fire over Panama Papers". Associated Press. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  48. US Treasury https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Pages/FATCA.aspx
  49. US Treasury https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Documents/FATCA-Agreement-BVI-6-30-2014.pdf
  50. US Treasury https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/treaties/Documents/FATCA-Agreement-BVI-6-30-2014.pdf.
  51. The Times. "British Virgin Islands – workforce". Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  52. CARICOM Heads of Government http://caricom.org/about-caricom/who-we-are/our-governance/heads-of-government/british-virgin-islands
  53. CARICOM http://caricom.org/
  54. Govt Jamaica http://www.mlss.gov.jm/pub/index.php?artid=43
  55. Immigration Govt http://immigration.gov.tt/Services/CSME.aspx
  56. CARIBBEAN Jobs http://www.caribbeanjobs.com/careers/page/How-to-Apply-for-a-CARICOM-Skills-Certificate.aspx
  57. "British Virgin Islands (British Overseas Territory) travel advice - GOV.UK". fco.gov.uk.
  58. "Drowning", publication World Health Organization
  59. The BVI Beacon, Thursday, August 15, 2013 article entitled "Report: Passports up, marriages down last year".
  60. Annual Report of the Civil Registry and Passport Office for 2012 which includes "For the 20 percent that represented drowning, all were tourists who died from snorkelling or diving in the VI waters in and around caves at Norman Island, as well as near Virgin Gorda...The Virgin Islands should, therefore put safety measures in place such as the dissemination of information to hotels, dive shops and marinas." The same report confirms that the deaths of 86 persons were recorded in the Territory during 2012.
  61. "No lifeguards at Cane Garden Bay & Virgin Gorda beaches". virginislandsnewsonline.com.
  62. British Virgin Islands Schools Archived 23 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine., BVI Government website
  63. The BVI Beacon "Portrait of a population: 2010 Census published" pg. 6, 20 November 2014
  64. "National Population Census Report 2001 – The British Virgin Islands" (PDF). Caribbean Community Secretariat. 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  65. The second paragraphs of the recitals (appearing between Article 1 and Article 2) contains the words: "[T]he society of the Virgin Islands is based upon certain moral, spiritual and democratic values including a belief in God."
  66. cited in "Mapping the Global Muslim Population" (PDF). Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. 2009. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  67. Penn, Dexter J.A. Music of the British Virgin Islands: Fungi. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  68. "BVI Book Of Poetry Set For Year End Reveal".
  69. "The Best Sailing". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  70. "Yacht Races". vacationtortola.com.
Directories
  • British Virgin Islands from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • British Virgin Islands at DMOZ
  • British Virgin Islands Guide from The Moorings
NGO sources
  • "Non-Self-Governing Territories listed by General Assembly in 2002". United Nations Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization. Retrieved 10 March 2005.
Official sites and overviews
  • The Government of the British Virgin Islands (official government site)
  • The Government of the BVI, London Office - Official government site
  • HM Governor's Office in the British Virgin Islands
  • Old Government House Museum, British Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
  • The British Virgin Islands Ports Authority - Official site
  • National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands - Official site
  • British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission - Official site
  • "British Virgin Islands". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
Wikimedia content
  • Wikimedia Atlas of British Virgin Islands
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for British Virgin Islands.
Source of information: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. We're not responsible for the content of this article and your use of this information. Disclaimer
British Virgin Islands: Information in other languages
Afrikaans Britse Maagde-eilande
Alemannisch Britische Jungferninseln
አማርኛ ብሪቲሽ ቭርጂን ደሴቶች
Ænglisc Bryttiscan Fæmne Īegland
العربية جزر العذراء البريطانية
Aragonés Islas Virchens Britanicas
Arpetan Iles Vièrges britaniques
Asturianu Islles Vírxenes Britániques
বাংলা ব্রিটিশ ভার্জিন দ্বীপপুঞ্জ
Bân-lâm-gú Eng-kok léng Virgin Kûn-tó
Башҡортса Британия Виргин утрауҙары
Беларуская Брытанскія Віргінскія астравы
Беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎ Брытанскія Віргінскія астравы
Bikol Central Islas Virgenes nin Britanya
Български Британски Вирджински острови
Bosanski Britanska Djevičanska ostrva
Brezhoneg Inizi Gwerc'h Breizhveurat
Català Illes Verges Britàniques
Čeština Britské Panenské ostrovy
Cymraeg Ynysoedd Prydeinig y Wyryf
Dansk Britiske Jomfruøer
Deutsch Britische Jungferninseln
ދިވެހިބަސް ބިރިޓިޝް ވާޖިން ޖަޒީރާ
Dolnoserbski Britaniske kněžniske kupy
Eesti Briti Neitsisaared
Ελληνικά Βρετανικές Παρθένοι Νήσοι
Español Islas Vírgenes Británicas
Esperanto Britaj Virgulininsuloj
Euskara Birjina britainiar uharteak
فارسی جزایر ویرجین بریتانیا
Fiji Hindi British Virgin Islands
Français Îles Vierges britanniques
Gaeilge Oileáin Bhriotanacha na Maighdean
Gagauz Büük Britaniya Virgin Adaları
Galego Illas Virxes Británicas
한국어 영국령 버진아일랜드
Հայերեն Բրիտանական Վիրջինյան կղզիներ
हिन्दी ब्रिटिश वर्जिन द्वीपसमूह
Hrvatski Britanski Djevičanski otoci
Ido Virgin Insuli Britaniana
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী ব্রিটিশ ভার্জিন দ্বীপমালা
Bahasa Indonesia Kepulauan Virgin Britania Raya
Íslenska Bresku Jómfrúaeyjar
Italiano Isole Vergini britanniche
עברית איי הבתולה הבריטיים
Basa Jawa Kapuloan Virgin Britania Raya
ქართული ბრიტანეთის ვირჯინის კუნძულები
Қазақша Британдық Вирджин аралдары
Kernowek Ynysow an Wyrghes Predennek
Kinyarwanda Ibirwa bya Virigini Nyongereza
Kiswahili Visiwa vya Virgin vya Uingereza
Kreyòl ayisyen Il Vièj britanik
Latina Virginis Insulae Britannicae
Latviešu Britu Virdžīnas
Lëtzebuergesch Britesch Joffereninselen
Lietuvių Mergelių Salos (Didžioji Britanija)
Ligure Isoe Vergini Britanneghe
Limburgs Britse Maagde-Eilen
Magyar Brit Virgin-szigetek
Македонски Британски Девствени Острови
मराठी ब्रिटिश व्हर्जिन द्वीपसमूह
Bahasa Melayu Kepulauan Virgin British
Nederlands Britse Maagdeneilanden
日本語 イギリス領ヴァージン諸島
Нохчийн Британин Виргинийн гӀайренаш
Nordfriisk Britisk Jongfoomen Eilunen
Norfuk / Pitkern Dem British Virgin Ailen
Norsk De britiske Jomfruøyer
Norsk nynorsk Dei britiske Jomfruøyane
Novial Britani Virja Isles
Occitan Illas Verges Britanicas
ଓଡ଼ିଆ ବ୍ରିଟିଶ ଭର୍ଜିନ ଦ୍ଵୀପପୁଞ୍ଜ
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਬਰਤਾਨਵੀ ਵਰਜਿਨ ਟਾਪੂ
پنجابی برطانوی ورجن جزیرے
Papiamentu British Virgin Islands
Patois British Voerjin Ailanz
Plattdüütsch Britsche Jumferninseln
Polski Brytyjskie Wyspy Dziewicze
Português Ilhas Virgens Britânicas
Română Insulele Virgine Britanice
Русский Виргинские Острова (Великобритания)
Scots Breetish Virgin Islands
Shqip Ishujt e Virgjër Britanikë
Sicilianu British Virgin Islands
Simple English British Virgin Islands
Slovenčina Britské Panenské ostrovy
Slovenščina Britanski Deviški otoki
Српски / srpski Британска Девичанска Острва
Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски Britanski Djevičanski otoci
Basa Sunda Kapuloan Virgin Britania
Suomi Brittiläiset Neitsytsaaret
Svenska Brittiska Jungfruöarna
Tagalog Kapuluan ng Birheng Britaniko
தமிழ் பிரித்தானிய கன்னித் தீவுகள்
ไทย หมู่เกาะบริติชเวอร์จิน
Türkçe Britanya Virjin Adaları
Українська Британські Віргінські Острови
اردو برطانوی جزائر ورجن
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche ئەنگلىيىگە قاراشلىق ۋىرگىن تاقىم ئاراللىرى
Tiếng Việt Quần đảo Virgin thuộc Anh
Winaray British Virgin Islands
Wolof Duni Virgin (angalteer)
Yorùbá Àwọn Erékùṣù Wúndíá Brítánì
粵語 英屬處女羣島
中文 英屬維爾京群島
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