The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism unveiled its new website – VisitUSVI.com – at a special event at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa last week.
Hosted by DOT Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty and Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa, guests included President of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association Lisa Hamilton, as well as representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, a number of local destination marketing companies and participants from the series of on-island website focus groups.
“Throughout the 18-month journey from research to site launch, we worked very closely with industry partners and community leaders to gain their insights and feedback about desired features for the new site,” said Nicholson-Doty. “We are excited to finally unveil the Web site to our local community and introduce these new features, including site navigation which links our prospective visitors directly to our hotel and tourism partners.”
A key strategy for the new site has focused on educating potential visitors about USVI offerings, and various navigation and design elements serve to meet this goal. Prospective visitors using the new website enjoy functionality allowing them to create trip planners and outline customized itineraries, featuring the territory’s various tourism entities. Additionally, a new interactive map listing points of interest for St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas entices visitors to get a deeper look at what the USVI has to offer.
Last week’s launch outlined the first of three phases of the new site, representing a $250,000 investment by the DOT. Coming in a later phase and a direct response to focus group and other on-island feedback, VisitUSVI.com will feature a landing page devoted solely to the destination’s packages and promotions, which will serve as a resource where offers for travel to the destination can be found. The remaining phases are scheduled to be completed by January 2010, when a booking engine will be added to the site.
“While increasing the amount of visitors to our site is obviously important, our main objective is to increase visitors to the territory and educate those who arrive as to the offerings of our destination,” said Nicholson-Doty. “This will result in greater visitor spend in the territory, and explains why we implemented such important new features as linking directly to tourism partners and incorporating interactive maps.”
The unveiling of the new website was an integrated segment of the DOT’s overall rebranding efforts for the destination, which kicked off in December 2008. with the introduction of the new Mocko Jumbie logo.