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State of the Market

IN THE NEWS – Scrub Island: Good news at last, for conservationists and future generations of BVI residents alike as confirmation that the BVI’s precious sea life will be protected as much as possible during construction of  the major resort developments slated for the East End.   The efforts will begin with MainSail Scrub Island, where 65 acres of sea bed will be carefully moved and preserved before the marina is constructed.  “Divers from the UBS dive centre, assisted by the Department of Conservation and Fisheries, VIPM and Applied Technology Management, have moved and reattached more than 1200 pieces of coral reef to protect it from the construction of a marina at a resort in Scrub Island,” reports the BVI Beacon in its 22 February 2007 edition.

Moquito Island: Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin entrepreneur and sometime BVI resident has confirmed that he has bought Mosquito Island in the BVI for approximately $19.5 million.  Sir Richard purchased Necker Island in 1976 for what equates to a mere $235,000.  The 120 acre island will house an eco-friendly resort development, open to day visitors.

Market Opportunities: Housing and Labour
One aspect of the two 5 star developments at Scrub Island and Beef Island that doesn’t get discussed much in the press is worker and staff accommodation – just where are they going to live?

The MainSail Scrub Island project development will, at most, need 250 workers in rotation over the next two years, and an operating staff of 150 to run the resort which has a tentative opening date of December 2007. (L Hilsdon 2006, BVI Property Guide, MainSail Feature)

The Beef Island development, a significantly larger project estimates that it will need 1300 workers over a period of 5 years and then an operating staff of 700 to run that resort and marina when fully operational.  (Ivor Jackson & Associates, 2006. Social Impact Assessment Report, Beef Island Development Project)

The BVI has a tight labour market already with the most recent government figures quoting the unemployment rate at just over 3%. Foreign labour will undoubtedly need to be bought in to fill the demand. The Labour department which processes work permit applications is understaffed and is already processing 800 applications a month, due to these and other developments in the BVI.

Over the next few years while the construction phase lasts there will be a demand for between 300-500 single person dwellings in the east end area, this demand will surely push up the cost of rent, and create some excellent opportunities for small local entrepreneurs.


James Bridgewater is a Registered Investment Advisor who has lived in Tortola since 1989. James advises and manages investment portfolios for individuals and family trusts.

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