TOURISM: United Airlines Will Increase Daily Flights From Houston To St. Thomas This Summer
SUCCESS AT LAST: Beverly Nicholson-Doty
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The commissioner of tourism said today that United Airlines will now make more non-stop flights to St. Thomas.
Beverly Nicholson-Doty said that talks this week with United Airlines have resulted in the air carrier promising to add more non-stop flights from Houston to St. Thomas this summer.
Nicholson-Doty, said she attended meetings with Gov. Kenneth Mapp and members of the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA), including Mapp’s brother VIPA Executive Director David Mapp, and that the daily flights will run from June 8 to August 14 this year — an increase of four weekly flights over last year.
“United is reporting strong demand for the U.S. Virgin Islands and we look forward to the additional lift to the territory,” she said, noting that the airline thanked the territory “for offering a product that appeals to its passengers.”
The tourism commissioner said the department’s goal is for United Airlines to provide year-round service between Houston and St. Thomas.
Nichoson-Doty said there will also be daily flights from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and United Airlines will again serve Washington Dulles International Airport with daily service to St. Thomas this summer and extend its weekly Saturday service from Newark, N.J. to St. Thomas beyond the summer months and into September and October.
The veteran commissioner said that she and Mapp were in Chicago this week to meet with United Airlines executives and to promote the territory through a series of “strategic meetings with travel industry partners.”
Nicholson-Doty said that she went to Chicago-based meeting with event planners, elected officials and “influencers” and was later joined by the governor to address Chicago-area journalists and editors from outlets such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebony and PBS.
According to the U.S. Virgin islands Bureau of Economic Research (BER), stay-over vistor arrivals to the territory in 2016 were up 4.3 percent compared with the previous year. St. Croix registered a 6.5 percent increase and St. Thomas-St. John were up 3.8 percent.
For the first two months of the year, stay-over arrivals were up by 4.5 percent over 2015, with St. Thomas-St. John reporting a 4.4 percent increase in arrivals while St. Croix was up by 5.3 percent.
Nicholson-Doty said that she and Mapp are currently in New York “for additional meetings to drive awareness and increase visitors to the territory.”