Black Meetings and Tourism

January / February 2018

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B M & T ••• January/February 2018 ••• 23 Following the impact of two Category 5 hurricanes in September, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has developed a 150-day rolling marketing plan to share with industry stakeholders. "This new plan has been developed to establish priorities and a road map of activities we will pursue as our destination recovers," Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty stated. She noted that the "abridged plan" will be fluid and adaptable to the current dynamic recovery environment and the Department of Tourism is committed to continuing to share regular progress updates with travel partners and the local community. The Commissioner disclosed that the Department is working with a significantly reduced budget, as marketing activities are funded by room tax revenues. "With a significant number of accommodations unavailable for most of 2018, the marketing plan reflects working with a reduced budget," she explained, noting that the U.S. Virgin Islands will maintain a limited presence at key trade shows across the United States. Public relations and marketing efforts will focus on sharing Virgin Islanders' stories of resilience. "Our digital marketing efforts will prima- rily focus on social media, where we will highlight segments such as cruise, shopping, dining, watersports, beaches, romance, culture, avail- able accommodations and yachting," she said. Efforts and messaging toward telling stories of resilience will use the hashtag #USVIStillNice. "As we recover from the challenges posed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we have no doubt that there is an opportunity for the U.S. Virgin Islands – with a refreshed product and visitor experience – to become the premier tourism destination in the Caribbean," the Commissioner asserted. She reported that airline and cruise line development meetings will continue this year, and that voluntourism opportunities are being launched across the Territory, a detailed plan for which will be unveiled during the first quarter of 2018. The Territory's film industry will also remain a focus, with the Department attending industry trade shows specifically targeted to this audience. The Commissioner expressed her ongoing appreciation of the busi- ness community and travel partners for their support of the destination and their continued collaboration. The Department will make the 150-day plan available to stakeholders in the very near future. ABOUT THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to, follow them on Twitter @USVITourism and become a fan on Facebook When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - including 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 foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens. # # # RECORD PORTMIAMI PASSENGERS FOR JANUARY-DECEMBER 2017 During January-December 2017, passengers through PortMiami reached record levels and increased by +4.6 percent compared to the pre- vious year. Growth is due in part to the addition of a new ship offering year- round service and the extensive cruise options offered by PortMiami. PORT MIAMI PASSENGERS January-December 2017 January-December 2016 %Change 5,347,810 5,101,113 +4.8% T R AV E L DATA U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS LAUNCHES 150-DAY MARKETING PLAN Abridged Plan Reflects Reduced Marketing Budget For FY 2018 Snorklering in St. Thomas

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