Driving the Territory’s Economy – In the fourth annual State of the Territory Address on June 5, Chief Minister Dr. D. Orlando Smith reported that the BVI had a growth rate of 11% in 2006, with a Gross Domestic Product of $992 million dollars.  He added that the BVI is poised to top the 1 billion dollar mark at the end of the year.

Chief Minister Smith attributed the growth of the Territory’s economy to the twin pillars of financial services and tourism. Thanks to the investments Government has made to the sectors he said the BVI has, “…earned a reputation that is second to none for ethics, transparency and good judgment.” in its financial services. While the tourism sector is adding jobs and other economic opportunities to numerous residents of the Territory. The average expenditure per visitor in 2006 increased by 15%. This the Chief Minister stated can be contributed to Government’s strategy of focusing on high-end visitors. Further expanding the BVI’s offerings in the tourism market, is paying off.

Chief Minister Smith added, “With the twin pillars of the economy growing briskly, economic activity has been stimulated across other sectors, as well – none more so than the construction and building sectors.  This past year, construction contributed over $50 million to our Gross Domestic Product.  In the same way, our other local small businesses – from our ocally owned retail stores, to our local artisans and craftsmen, to our farmers and fishermen – are all finding ways to benefit from our growing economy.”

To add to this growth, Government has established a Small Business Bureau and the new Loan Guarantee programme to provide local entrepreneurs with access to affordable loans.  Additionally the approval processes for businesses looking to invest in the economy of the BVI has been streamlined.  This the Chief Minister said, has made clear that, “…the BVI welcomes true partners who are looking to do well financially, while also making a real contribution to the greater good of our community.   And in taking these steps, we have created confidence here at home and around the world that the BVI is a place where opportunities abound.”

To view the Chief Minister’s State of the Territory speech in its entirety visit www.bvipg.com and click "Breaking News."