Tortola Pier Park Sense of Arrival

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IDEA Concept for Pier Park Village Square now removed by BVIPA

I was recently in Tortola to survey the progress on the IDEA inspired Tortola Pier Park. I am proud of the work our team performed and the vision we created to attract Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines to the port. However I am concerned about the state of the port and the drastic changes being made in what could have been a marquis port of call in the Eastern Caribbean.

Although Norwegian Cruise Lines Getaway was in port the guest arrival is greatly compromised by the lack of completed infrastructure and landscape. “The sense of arrival in any destination is the most important aspect of the guest experience”. IDEA worked diligently over two years to craft and design a fantastic arrival into the British Virgin Islands. Unfortunately the decision by the BVI Port Authority Board to self perform the construction of the project has proven to be a mistake. The arrival of such a grand ship as the Getaway to a construction site is very disappointing for everyone including the residents of the BVI. The lack of vision in making sure that the opening April 29th and on its arrival every Wednesday is not more of a priority demonstrates a lack of commitment to quality tourism. It was such an embarrassment to see guests walking on dirt and gravel parking lots to reach their island destination. No landscape is installed even if only temporary to provide shade and green space, I think by all accounts is an unacceptable arrival to such a great destination. I understand that Norwegian is only paying $6 head tax not the $15 as guaranteed, as that is understandable given the current condition of the site. “You only have one chance for a first impression and the unfortunately for now it is not a good one” .

I would like to see more effort put forth by the port authority to complete the project and to the IDEA specifications that were set fourth before their efforts to self perform. The redesign as I was told removed many of the iconic elements of the project like the cricket pitch green space and residential units within the village to give it life 24/7. The site needs immediate landscape attention and a plan in place to complete building in phases not to allow poured slabs with exposed rebar to dominate the site. If funds are not available to complete building slabs should not have been poured. Evidently pouring slabs was more important than tourism arrival impressions and collecting full head tax fees to repay the BVIPA investment.

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IDEA Concept for Village Green now removed by BVIPA