For Immediate Release

Source: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Contact:

Luana Wheatley, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism + 1 340 774-8784
lawheatley@usvitourism.vi

Bevan Springer, Marketplace Excellence + 1 201 861-2056
bevan@marketplaceexcellence.com

Commissioner Designee Joe Boschulte in Jamaica last week.

USVI DECLARED OPEN FOR BUSINESS AT MAJOR TOURISM CONFERENCE

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (February 3, 2019) – Tourism Commissioner Designee Joe Boschulte soundly proclaimed that the U.S. Virgin Islands is “open for business” during the 2019 Caribbean Travel Marketplace conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica last week.

Recognizing the hard work and determination of the Territory’s tourism stakeholders as well as its residents, communities, friends and supporters from near and far, he said the tourism sector had emerged from the ravages of two hurricanes “stronger and more hardened”.

Speaking to reporters during a series of back-to-back Caribbean destination press briefings, Commissioner Designee Boschulte said between 60 and 65 percent of accommodations across the Territory were open and accepting guests, while other properties were rebuilding and repairing apace.

Traditional accommodations such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and timeshares, are offering about 1,050 rooms on St. Thomas, nearly 150 rooms on St. John, and about 600 units on St. Croix.
Additionally, 600 villa units and 200 charter yachts were available in the St. Thomas-St. John district while St. Croix has about 300 villa units in operation.

Recognizing the contributions of the sharing economy during the early stages of the recovery when Airbnb and other platforms played an important role, the tourism leader recalled it was also a time when residents learned more about how they could help. There are now approximately 830 Airbnb listings in St. Thomas, 250 in St. John, and 350 in St. Croix.
The Tourism Commissioner Designee delivered the good news that airlift capacity to St. Croix already is ahead of pre-storms levels, while seats to St. Thomas are at approximately 80 percent of the pre-storms level.

Cruise ship arrivals continue to strengthen while the Territory is managing “bigger, heavier and longer” ships by adjusting the size and efficiency of its ports, as well as enhancing the attractiveness of land-based activities for cruise passengers.

He added the Territory was looking to improve efficiency by developing water transportation to enable cruise passengers to use water taxis to travel to the retail areas where they can spend more time exploring historic areas, dining and shopping. Extra lanes were also being added to heavily traveled roads in Charlotte Amalie.

Commissioner Designee Boschulte noted that as a mature destination, the U.S. Virgin Islands must refresh its existing attractions and keep up with visitors’ increased desire to move beyond sun, sand and sea. Much of the Territory’s revitalization, therefore, will include attractions highlighting the cultural heritage, natural environment and culinary richness of the islands.

Acknowledging there was still work to be done, he credited the infusion of “significant federal dollars” along with the resolve of local stakeholders with helping the USVI to achieve its rebuilding objectives.

About the U.S. Virgin Islands
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Instagram (@visitusvi) 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.