The Office of the Governor and Royal Caribbean Group will host the fourth session of the USVI Community Business Forum series that will take a closer look at the cruise giant’s expected return to the territory this summer.
The USVI Community Business Forum IV is scheduled for 9-11 a.m., Wednesday, June 16. The session will be held virtually via Zoom and can also be viewed Live on Facebook.com/GovernmentHouseUSVI.
To get the Zoom link, visit www.vi.gov/cbf/, or for more information, call 774-0001. Virgin Islands business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting a business directly or indirectly related to the tourism or hospitality industry are encouraged to attend and participate.
This month’s forum will feature Jayne Halcomb, Royal Caribbean Group’s director of Business and Destination Development – Caribbean and the Americas, and Elisa Shen, associate vice president of Onboard Revenue and Hotel Operations for Royal Caribbean International, along with V.I. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion and Julien Henley, the Office of the Governor’s Territorial ADA coordinator.
“We are truly excited about part four of the Community Business Forum,” said David Bornn, who is chief legal counsel to Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and is facilitating the organization of the event.
“Royal Caribbean Group has participated in two of our previous events, and this time we anticipate much more detailed information about their expected return to the U.S. Virgin Islands – both St. Thomas and St. Croix – this summer.
“The Bryan-Roach Administration has been undertaking these forums to ensure that our local businesses are ready for the return of cruise guests and to also have general business development information to help them reset and rebuild after COVID-19 pandemic,” Bornn said.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently lifted its No-Sail Order, which was imposed in March of 2020. The cruise lines have had to meet certain stringent criteria to resume sailing and to prevent any future outbreaks on the ships.
The Community Business Forum series is an initiative of the Office of the Governor, the VI Economic Development Authority and the V.I. Department of Tourism, in partnership with Royal Caribbean, to provide business owners with the tools and resources they need to adapt, innovate and embrace technology to rebuild the USVI economy.
“It has been more than a year since our last cruise ship call, and that has certainly taken a toll on our tourism industry,” Bryan said. “We are happy to see Royal Caribbean return after such a prolonged absence, but we also have to be ready to receive cruise passengers while maintaining our health guidelines. I’m urging business owners, especially those who work closely with our guests such as taxi drivers and tour operators, to be a part of this conversation.”
The Community Business Forum series was launched in December 2020 and focuses on overall economic and workforce development in the USVI. All of the information presented in the forums are available at www.vi.gov/cbf.