Press Release

Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour
Release Date:
Monday, 30 January 2023 - 4:39pm

Vi Government Moves To Secure Tourism Product

Monday, 30 January Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Honourable Melvin M. Turnbull has said that the Government of the Virgin Islands is creating opportunities to help secure the Territory’s tourism product for generations to come.

Honourable Turnbull in his statement in the Second Sitting of the Fifth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly said the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Virgin Islands and Southampton University’s Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) and Public Policy will also secure the overall quality of life, and the success of the blue economy.

Minister Turnbull stated, “We cannot speak about the economy of the VI or even our reputation, without acknowledging the importance of our natural resources being preserved and further developed. This partnership therefore creates opportunities to help secure the VI tourism product, our overall quality of life, and the success of the blue economy, for generations to come.”

Honourable Turnbull said Southampton University ranks among the top 100 universities in the world, and is among the top 1 percent of all the world's educational institutions. 

“Their Marine and Maritime Institute is the largest entity of its kind in the world, with expertise in everything from naval architecture to the social sciences,” he added.

The Territory’s environmental units and educational institutions are expected to benefit in several ways from the Memorandum of Understanding over the next five years and possibly years to follow. These include:

  1. The exchange of scientific, academic, and technical information and materials of mutual interest, to also include organisation and participation in joint activities such as seminars and conferences.
  2. Mutual visits of faculty and school members to pursue research and innovation opportunities.
  3. The opportunity to join in research and development in disciplines of mutual interest.
  4. Development of joint research funding applications on areas of mutual interest; and
  5. Identification of opportunities for commercialisation of technology.

Honourable Turnbull also mentioned the recently approved Blue Economy Roadmap and what the MoU means for the Territory. He said, “This MoU with the University of Southampton is actually an investment in this Territory that is far reaching.  We are a small island developing state, with the opportunity to develop existing ocean-based sectors such as fisheries and tourism, as well as create new sectors, but are now much more empowered to do so while still ensuring our ocean’s sustainable use.”

A full transcript of Honourable Turnbull’s statement can be viewed on the Government of the Virgin Island’s website at


Paul Bridgewater

Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations