Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2015

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MEETING IN THIS CARIBBEAN DESTINATION WILL GUARANTEE ATTENDEE APPROVAL! BY SOLOMON J. HERBERT II The U.S. Virgin Islands, comprised of St. Croix, St. John and St, Thomas is located in the eastern Caribbean, just 1,100 miles southeast of Miami. Location is everything. Planners look- ing for an unparalleled destination will find plenty of choices in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether planning for a group of CEOs or an incentive retreat with spouses and children in tow, knowl- edgeable meeting managers and enthusiastic destination management companies (DMCs) are available to supply the latest technology and pre- pare creative itineraries. Diverse ven- ues range from first-class luxury resorts to smaller, intimate hideaways, to elegant off-site locations for hosting functions. Once business concludes, the islands offer a stunning array of enter- tainment and recreation options, including yacht races, championship golf courses, and a $1,600 duty-free allowance and discounts up to 40%. Make your next meeting mean more in the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Peter Great House and Botanical Gardens offers planners an outdoor/indoor meeting space that gives conference attendees a more natural feel to their meeting. This restored world-class estate is set on 11 acres 1,000 ft. above Hull Bay and world-famous Magens Bay. A total of 20,000 sq. ft. under beautiful tiled roofs offer a variety of special areas to accommodate large and small groups. The venues observation deck delivers breathtaking views of 20 other islands. Some of the top hotels/resorts the islands have to offer are The Divi Carina Bay Resort, The Carambola Beach Resort, The Westin, Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, St. John Resort & Villas and The Palms at Pelican Grove. In the U.S.V.I. Carnival is the biggest party of the year, and each island has its own. St. Croix's Christmas Festival starts in December with an adult's parade on Three Kings Day. St. Thomas's carnival culminates in the final week of April. St. John's celebration is Fourth of July week. A month-long series of dazzling pag- eants and talent shows is held to choose royalty to rein over the festival. Fun events such as a boat race, Greased Pig Contest and Toddlers Derby entertain everyone at the festiv- ities. Other popular events held during Carnival is j'ouvert, a morning jump up, a food fair presenting the islands' best traditional eats and a competition to crown the King and Queen of the parade troupes. A children's and adult's parade close the lively month with brilliantly costumed and decorated troupes and floats. B e v e r l y Nicholson-Doty serves as Com- missioner of Tourism for the U.S.V.I., a cabi- net-level posi- tion. She over- sees the Depart- ment of Tour- ism's advertising and marketing strategy, its national and international tourism-relat- ed efforts and product development. Destination meetings are made easy with nonstop service on most of the major carriers from a variety of U.S. gateways. Connecting flights are available to and from Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Miami and Atlanta via the San Juan hub. U.S. citizens don't need a passport to enjoy the islands, and favorable tax incentives and global shipping options make transactions simple. B M & T ••• September/October 2015 ••• 36 AREA GUIDES U S V I USVI Buck Island, St. Croix Photo Credit: USVI Deparment of Tourism • • • STATS • • • HOTEL ROOMS Carambola Beach Resort 151 Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort 166 Best Western Emerald Beach Resort 90 EXHIBITION FACILITIES Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort Total Exhibit Space 60,000 sq. ft Meeting Rooms 31 WHO YOU GONNA CALL? U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (800) 372-USVI BEVERLY NICHOLSON-DOTY

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