U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism Shows Spectacular Growth in Post-Pandemic Era
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (October 11, 2022) – The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism attended the 40th Caribbean Travel Marketplace trade show in Puerto Rico where data showed that the Caribbean is leading in travel recovery worldwide with the US Virgin Islands leading in overall recovery in the region. The Department of Tourism held a press conference to announce news about its travel industry’s progress including upcoming major hotels reopening and the spectacular growth in USVI’s tourism sector during the post-pandemic era, in addition to teasing the new brand and advertising campaign for the US Virgin Islands called Naturally in Rhythm which will be launched later this month. The annual event is the largest marketing event for Caribbean tourism suppliers and wholesalers and is produced by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA).
“The Caribbean tourism industry has led the world in recovering from the pandemic,” said USVI Department of Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte at the press conference. “And the US Virgin Islands has been at the forefront of the region’s recovery. As of September 14, the USVI saw a 44% increase in overall destination arrivals compared to 2019. The demand for the summer and fall of 2022 was strong in the Caribbean exceeding levels in 2019.
Boschulte also announced the reopening of two newly built and rebranded hotel properties at Frenchmen’s Reef, restoring the accommodation capacity in St. Thomas to the levels prior to the devastating destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria five years ago. After a $425 million renovation, the Westin Beach Resort & Spa and the Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef Autograph Collection will reopen this Winter 22/23.
Other USVI news included upcoming popular events such as the VIPCA Charter Yacht Show November 12-15, the International Yacht Brokers Association and IGY Marina Caribbean Charter Yacht Show December 8-11, the Paradise Jam Basketball Tournaments in November, and the St. Croix Crucian Christmas Festival from December 2022 to January 2023.
Boschulte emphasized that CHTA industry events are key to future tourism growth and success in the Caribbean. He said, “We are continuing to build upon our existing relationships and to create new ones to attract more visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our goals are to grow the cruising business, amplify our airlift, and increase overnight stays, so it is essential that we attend, network, partner, and learn from our industry peers”
The US Virgin Islands exhibition booth was on a 10 x 30 space on the conference floor and featured breathtaking images of the destination and two huge monitors displaying many of its attractions. In addition, its space included a living room setting for attendees to sit comfortably and discuss opportunities within the destination. The USVI conducted over 50 appointments with buyers, suppliers, and travel media. As a major sponsor of the conference, the USVI logo was prominently displayed in all CHTA digital branded signage.