Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2020

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Page 28 of 48

USVI TOURISM COMMISSIONER URGES STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH COVID-19 PROTOCOLS While the return of leisure travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands has been "extraordinarily successful," according to Department of Tourism representatives, the Territory continues to urge compli- ance with the stringent protocols and guidelines that have been established to help curb the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Territory. Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte believes the new guidelines are the critical factor in protecting pub- lic health. "Together with our col- leagues in the Department of Health, the Virgin Islands Port Authority, the VI National Guard, and the Office of the Governor, we have gone to great lengths to invest in public awareness, training, technology and implementa- tion to ensure that visitors and residents are as protected as possi- ble from COVID-19 infection," he stated. Echoing weekly messaging from the Territory's chief executive, Governor Albert Bryan Jr., the Commissioner restated that vigi- lance must be maintained at all times: "Now, more than ever, we need our industry partners – taxi operators, accommodations providers, tour guides, restaurants and activities – as well as every Virgin Islander to stay diligent in practicing and enforcing the rules that have been set forth," he emphasized. Since September 19, 2020, when hotels and other accommoda- tions providers were permitted to accept new check-ins, hundreds of guests, the majority of whom were prescreened through the Department of Tourism's Travel Screening Portal, have arrived through the Territory's air and sea ports. The prescreening process now requires that all travelers aged five and older, without regard to the COVID-19 positivity rate in the visitor's state of residence, sub- mit evidence of testing for the virus. As the Territory continues to experience a decline in active COVID-19 cases, tourism, health and other officials are mindful that spikes or surges can quickly and easily occur if front line work- ers and other stakeholders become relaxed in enforcing compli- ance, both among employees and visitors. Seeking to avoid the uptick in positive cases that forced the Territory's August 17, 2020, return to the "Stay-at-Home" phase of its COVID-19 response, which included barring leisure travel for the second time since the beginning of the pandemic, Commissioner Boschulte and his colleagues are reminding their tourism partners of that unwelcome possibility should complacen- cy set in. The Commissioner expressed his gratitude to residents of the Virgin Islands for their overwhelming support, patience and coop- eration over the past six months as the Territory has sought to find the delicate balance between "protecting lives and re-injecting life into our tourism-dependent economy". Stakeholders are encouraged to ensure their practices are in accordance with the published standards and proper procedures for operating reception and concierge facilities; cleaning and housekeeping; managing dining rooms; and providing technical and maintenance services. Specific guidance has also been devel- oped for taxi, van, safari and limo services; restaurants; and lodging facilities. The online "Toolkit for Service Providers", available at, offers additional resources for the Territory's hospitality industry. "We value our partners immensely and we are confident they will continue to cooperate with us to ensure our guests experience the best we have to offer in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including sun, sand, sea and safety," said Commissioner Boschulte. To date, the Department of Health has tested 19,835 individu- als, with 18,534 negative results and 1,290 positives. There are cur- rently 63 active COVID-19 cases in the Territory. About the U.S. Virgin Islands For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to, follow us on Instagram @visitusvi and Twitter @usvitourism, and become a fan on Facebook www.face- When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - includ- ing on-line check-in - making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any for- eign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. CARIBBEAN TRAVEL MARKETPLACE 39 PLANNED FOR SPRING 2021 Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Exploring Host Destinations CARIBBEAN CORNER B M & T ••• November/December 2020••• 28

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