MIAMI —The U.S. Virgin Islands is positioning itself for growth in the cruising industry. Under the leadership of Commissioner of Tourism, Joseph Boschulte, the territory attended SeaTrade in Florida starting on Monday.
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) and Royal Caribbean Group will host a press conference at the Seatrade Cruise Global Convention today at noon. VIPA and RCG will share details of the cruise line’s plans to increase cruise passenger volume to the territory.
“SeaTrade is an invaluable conference that I look forward to attending every year”, says Commissioner Boschulte. “It allows industry leaders and professionals to get together and not only drive awareness to their individual goals, but to find opportunities for collaboration and partnership for the greater good of the tourism industry. The pandemic may have set us back but I’m optimistic of the future of cruising in the USVI.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands announced a partnership with The Florida- Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) recently that will focus on increasing the territory’s overall economic impact from cruise tourism. Strategic objectives include increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to overnight visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach and more.
“I am extremely grateful to the Florida- Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) for our partnership”, says Commissioner Boschulte. “This collaboration aligns with the objectives we have been focused on as a destination since the Pandemic. The focus on converting cruisers to overnight guests allows us to truly market the amazing experiences a visitor can expect across the islands from dusk to dawn and creating a market for repeat visitation. Our cruising ports are the gateway, and through our partnership with FCCA and our work at the Department of Tourism, the floodgates will open to ongoing visitation.”
According to the FCCA report “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies” from 2018, the U.S. Virgin Islands earned $184.7 million in cruise tourism expenditures, with $77.9 million in total employee wage income in the Caribbean cruise year spanning 2017-2018.
With the current initiatives in place, the U.S. Virgin Islands is positioned to exceed these numbers and be more than a cruising stop in the Caribbean, but the destination of choice for overnight cruising passengers beginning summer 2022 and beyond.