Two devastating hurricanes and the pandemic left tourism in the British Virgin Islands in tatters. But resorts are now welcoming back visitors to pristine beaches and lush rainforests
With icing-sugar sand, crystal-clear water and jungle-wrapped mountains, it’s hard to believe how different the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) looked just four years ago. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma – the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, with wind gusts reaching 215mph – ripped through this chain of lush islands, leaving them scorched and bare.
Just two weeks later, Maria followed – another Category 5 hurricane.
When the winds died down, more than 80 per cent of buildings on the BVIs’ main island of Tortola were found to have been destroyed or seriously damaged, and its vital tourist industry was decimated.