U.S.V.I. Is Celebrating Travel and Tourism Month

A mocko jumbie dances on St. Thomas in the 1060s. (Photo submitted by Willard John)
A mocko jumbie dances on St. Thomas in the 1960s. (Photo submitted by Willard John)

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. recently signed a proclamation marking May 2019 as Virgin Islands Travel and Tourism Month throughout the territory. The proclamation calls upon the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands to observe the month by attending the scheduled cultural activities and cleanups arranged by the Department of Tourism (DOT) across St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

According to the proclamation, “The events planned by the Department of Tourism will connect the dots of Virgin Islands culture and heritage and offer fresh new insights in how residents and industry partners can nurture an enormous global industry that can continue to drive economic growth in [the] territory.”

Tourism is the largest industry in the territory, which, in 2018, welcomed more than 1.4 million cruise passengers and nearly 500,000 air arrivals, totaling 1.9 million visitors. Last year, spending by visitors territory-wide generated an estimated $917,319,134 — averaging $2.5 million per day, more than $104,000 spent each hour and $1,745.28 each minute.

“The tourism and hospitality industry in the United States Virgin Islands is vital to the territory’s growth and maintaining long-lasting economic stability in the region. As the melting pot of the Caribbean, interactions with visitors and the revenue that follows contribute substantially to the cultural and social dynamic of our people,” says the proclamation.

Virgin Islanders are gearing up for tourism celebrations this month.

National Tourism Week takes place May 20-25. DOT urges the public to participate on May 21 by wearing red to represent support of the department’s endeavors, and on May 25 by meeting for a tourism cleanup. Cleanups will take place on St. Croix at STX Historic Towns; on St. John at Cruz Bay and Coral Bay; and on St. Thomas at Charlotte Amalie, Red Hook and Smith Bay.

Cleanups will take place from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a prize will be awarded in each district to the agency that collects the most trash bags.

“Without supportive and engaged stakeholders, direct and indirect, our tourism product would not be as successful as it is today,” said Tourism Commissioner Designee Joseph Boschulte, who added that National Tourism Week allows the department to lock arms with the community “as we celebrate our culture and share in our common values.”

Other events include a coal pot competition at Emancipation Garden on St. Thomas, a Little Library launch at the Department of Tourism Park on St. John, and a Little Library launch at Frederiksted Health Clinic on St. Croix. The Department of Tourism will also conduct school visits throughout the territory.

To participate in the cleanups, contact Neelia Ross on St. Croix at 772-0357 or nross@usvitourism.vi; Francilia Williams on St. John at 776-6450 or fwilliams@usvitourism.vi; or Keezi Pinney on St. Thomas at 774-8784 or kjpinney@usvitourism.vi.