The British Virgin Islands belong to an island group in the western regions of the Atlantic Ocean, termed the “Virgin Islands archipelago”, located east of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and west of Anguilla. The major islands in the archipelago include Tortola (the largest and most central island and also home to the capital city Road Town), Jost Van Dyke, and Virginia Gorda. The rest of the islands are divided between British and American rule. Per capita GDP is relatively high due to an extremely active financial services sector, particularly designed for the establishment of foreign and offshore companies.
The British Virgin Islands are comprised of 50 islands, only 15 of which are inhabited. The population is around 32,000, primarily centered on the central island of Tortola. Every year more than a million tourists flock to the region, enjoying the various tourist attractions: the famous Virgin Gorda “Baths”, and an opportunity to scuba dive in the spectacular coral reefs along Anegada’s beaches.
Government authority of the islands is stable, with executive authority of Queen Elizabeth II exercised through the island governor. Government positions are decided by democratic elections.
The tourist industry constitutes a major contribution to local economy (45% of all state revenues) and provides the majority of employment for residents. The financial services sector is equally important, and revenues generated from the registration and administration of offshore businesses, as well as the taxes submitted by the local employees of this sector, produce 51% of all British Virgin Islands income.
Foreign companies wishing to establish a business on the islands must submit to several restrictions; among other things, they are not permitted to hold any assets in the state, excluding rented office accommodations, and they may not be active in areas of banking, trusts or insurance (unless registered specifically under the 1990 Banks and Trust Companies Act).
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