February 6, 2018
Dear Travel Partners,
It has been nearly five months since the U.S. Virgin Islands endured two Category 5 hurricanes.
While there is more work to do before we return to a full state of normalcy, we are greatly encouraged by the progress we have made to date. The resilient spirit of Virgin Islanders; an effective emergency management leadership team; the partnership and care of our tourism industry partners, including cruise lines and airlines; and essential assistance from our federal partners and mainland-based linemen have all helped to propel the Territory’s recovery forward.
In fact, we believe visitors will be amazed to see how well the destination is bouncing back, and we invite travelers to visit the USVI this season for a memorable Caribbean vacation experience – even while we continue to recover and build back stronger and better than ever.
Examples of our progress include:
- Airports on St. Croix and St. Thomas have been operational for months, and several carriers have recently increased flight service from key cities to meet the growing demand
- Cruise ship ports of call to St. Thomas have returned to pre-hurricane levels, with nearly 50 ships arriving in January alone
- 98 percent of power is restored across the Territory
- All beaches and most activities and attractions have opened, with restaurants and attractions reopening each week
- National Park sites, including the world-renowned Virgin Islands National Park on St. John, have reopened
- We will host several important annual special events that highlight the unique culture and cuisine of the Virgin Islands:
- St. Thomas International Regatta (March 22-25, 2018)
- V.I. Carnival (March 31-April 28, 2018)
- St. Croix Food & Wine Experience (April 5-9, 2018)
In terms of accommodations, approximately 40 percent of traditional hotels/rooms in the Territory are operational, with many housing relief workers. Despite this, the U.S. Virgin Islands offers many options to fit a variety of lifestyles and budgets.
Villa rentals are a popular choice, and villa accommodations of all sizes and configurations are available. From luxury beachfront properties with amenities such as infinity pools and private chefs, to more modest accommodations, there is quite a selection. Many visitors also enjoy the authentic experience of staying at a family-run guest house or booking a timeshare or condominium rental.
Chartering a yacht for the week is also a popular choice for couples and families wanting to enjoy quality time with one another while sailing or power yachting from one beautiful bay to the next.
Visitors to St. Croix will find a range of accommodations from resorts such as The Buccaneer to private luxury villas, bed and breakfasts, and the brand new boutique hotel, The Fred, located in downtown Frederiksted. On St. John and St. Thomas a significant portion of the hotel inventory remains closed for repairs and renovation. Options for overnight visitors to St. John wishing to stay near Cruz Bay include Gallows Point Resort, Grande Bay Resort, Hotel Cruz Bay (Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel), Estate Lindholm and Sea Shore Allure. Beyond Cruz Bay, there are numerous private villas located throughout the island that are available for vacation rental. On St. Thomas, Emerald Beach Resort, Windward Passage, Lindbergh Bay Beach as well as numerous villas, inns and bed and breakfast properties are accepting leisure visitors.
In conjunction with local nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, the Department of Tourism is developing an inventory of needs in the Territory that will benefit most from volunteer assistance and resources. In the coming weeks, opportunities for travelers to participate in these voluntourism projects will be shared and publicized.
If you are interested in contributing to our ongoing recovery effort, please visit www.usvirecovery.org . We will continue to provide tourism and Territorial updates at www.usviupdate.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyNicholsonDoty.
Thank you for your continued support, interest and partnership.
Commissioner of Tourism
U.S. Virgin Islands
About the U.S. Virgin Islands
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Twitter ( @USVITourism) and become a fan on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI). When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel – including on-line check-in – making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.