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Tourism Says It Is Trying To Make Chicken Salad Out of Chicken Sh_t With Reduced Budget

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Following the impact of two Category 5 hurricanes in September, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism said it 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.

Nicholson-Doty 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 primarily focus on social media, where we will highlight segments such as cruise, shopping, dining, watersports, beaches, romance, culture, available 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 business 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 over the next several days.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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