U.S. travelers’ increasing interest in the Caribbean generally and the U.S. Virgin Islands specifically is something the Department of Tourism will be taking advantage of, Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte said in a statement Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of the Department of Tourism’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Hearing
presentation on Thursday, Boschulte highlighted a recent study released by MMGY Global called the “Portrait of American Travelers 2019-2020” which lists Caribbean destinations as a top choice for American travelers.
The Caribbean was the second to Europe as the most popular region for American travelers, and the U.S. Virgin Islands second to the Bahamas in terms of popularity, with 25 percent of those surveyed expressing interest in visiting the Territory within the next two years.
“As more travelers from the mainland look at visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands, this is very good news for our people and our economy,” Boschulte said. He said his budget testimony will include plans the destination is taking to use tourism to elevate the quality of life of Virgin Islanders.
Boschulte said he will highlight the marketing and sales accomplishments of the tourism department team.
“We have met with the legacy and low-cost carriers serving our districts and we have been successful in growing airlift, opening up access to the territory from cities such as Dallas, Houston and Chicago. We continue to keep the lines of communication open with these important partners as we stabilize and grow the economy,” Boschulte’s prepared testimony reads.
He wants to build nimble, strong public relations and advertising campaigns focused on data and analytics, “where we geo-target to areas and consumers most propensed to visit the USVI.”
Boschulte said the department will spend its resources creatively in local and regional stateside markets “where we can realize a much stronger bang for the buck.”
Echoing the past two administrations, Boschulte said he will propose marketing St. Croix as its own brand, while solidifying the identities of St. Thomas and St. John under the overarching USVI brand.
Plans for the upcoming year include aggressive marketing and business development planning to coincide with the reopening of additional hotel rooms; promoting sports tourism, enterprise development, culinary tourism, the dive sector; and launching the Division of Festivals and Cultural Heritage Institute.