Americans Set Their Sights on U.S. Virgin Islands

A beautiful Virgin Islands beach (Submitted photo)

Data from a leading travel insurance comparison site confirms that the demand from U.S.-based travelers for visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands has increased significantly.

Based on all travel insurance policies purchased through Squaremouth.com between March 12 and Oct. 19, 2020, for all future travel, the USVI experienced an increase of more than 200 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

“The analysis from Squaremouth.com corroborates not only the findings of Travelzoo’s survey of American travelers in August, which showed that the territory is the destination those travelers would most like to visit in the Caribbean over the next two years, but it also lines up with our observations and key indicators of exceptionally strong demand from the U.S. mainland for travel to the USVI,” said Joseph Boschulte, commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism.

Heading into the winter season, public health concerns and travel restrictions coming out of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to impact international travel. Americans are increasingly seeking options for exploring and experiencing domestic destinations, especially those that demonstrate a commitment to comprehensive health and safety protocols and guidelines.

According to Squaremouth.com, the year-over-year change in purchases of travel insurance policies for the U.S. was 319 percent, while the U.S. Virgin Islands registered an increase of 207 percent.

“This is the first time the U.S. Virgin Islands has been identified as among the most popular destinations by this award-winning company, and we are deeply grateful to all our partners in the territory’s tourism ecosystem – from hotel and tour operators to taxi drivers and the many entities engaged in our diverse marine tourism sector,” said Commissioner Boschulte.

The commissioner also attributed the positive findings of the data analysis to the Department of Tourism’s coordinated marketing, public relations and communications initiatives, which include promoting and supporting the territory’s COVID-19 public health practices widely to both residents and visitors.

Alluding to the department’s strategic approach to marketing the territory during the global health crisis, Boschulte said, “We have been proactive and vigilant in maintaining close and constant contact with our airline partners, wholesalers, travel advisors and meeting planners and their associations, members of the media and travel trade, as well as the general traveling public.”

Besides the USVI, other Caribbean destinations making Squaremouth’s list of Top 10 Destinations (and their corresponding change in travel insurance policies purchased) include: Turks and Caicos Islands (303 percent); The Bahamas (-32 percent); Jamaica (27 percent) and Aruba (2 percent).

Beginning this month, several carriers are expected to increase air service to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Prior to traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, all travelers ages five or older must submit a COVID-19 test result through the USVI Travel Screening Portal to avoid processing delays, enhanced health screening upon arrival in the territory and/or mandatory self-quarantine.

Travelers are encouraged to refer to www.usviupdate.com for guidance and information about traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands.