Thu | Apr 26, 2018

USVI tourism back on track after hurricanes

Published:Sunday | April 15, 2018 | 11:25 AM
A speed limit sign stands tilted and a power line that snapped it half lays on a building, after the passage of Hurricane Irma in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

NEW YORK, CMC – United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty says the territory is open for business, in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes.

According to a USVI statement issued yesterday, Nicholson-Doty addressed several consumers and industry stakeholders over the past week in Atlanta, Georgia, Chicago, Illinois and New York, thanking them for their support of the “US Virgin Islands during the ongoing recovery process and suggested that the best way to continue helping the US Virgin Islands is to visit the territory”.

It said while in Atlanta, Nicholson-Doty participated in a live on-air segment with Lynda Kinkade on CNN International’s CNN Newsroom, where she gave a comprehensive update on the USVI’s recovery.

“We have several hotels that have reopened; our yachting industry is absolutely glorious, and we have wonderful villas,” she said. “However, it is a journey.

“We will have more hotels opening at the end of the year and, as we look towards the future, we really feel that we’re going to have an even better tourism product.’

During her in-market travels, the statement said Nicholson-Doty also met with journalists from the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Daily News and TravelPulse.

At a meeting with United Airlines in Chicago, the USVI commissioner, who was accompanied by David Mapp, executive director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA), provided updates on the territory’s accommodations and tourism offerings, the statement said.

It said she reconfirmed that United resumes service to St Thomas this weekend from Newark, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

The airline will recommence flights to St Thomas from Houston, Texas later this month, and provide daily flights from Washington's Dulles International Airport this summer between early June and late August, the statement said.

It said the commissioner and executive director held similar talks with JetBlue Airways in New York and attended an airline training programme in the city.

“As we bounce back, it’s critically important that we update our partners on the significant progress we are making, while taking the necessary steps to ensure that flights return as more accommodations become available,” Nicholson-Doty said.

“Power has been restored across the territory, our beaches and attractions have reopened, cruise lines and airlines have returned, and a wide variety of accommodations are available, even as our rebuilding and resiliency work continues,” she added, affirming that the “USVI is still nice.”