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V.I. TOURISM AT WORK FOR NATIONAL WEEK

May 2, 2002 – National Tourism Week, May 5 through May 11, will kick off Monday in the Virgin Islands with "Open House" at the St. Thomas and St. John Visitor Centers.
On St. Croix, a series of historic and cultural tours for elementary and junior high school students will begin Monday. Included will be tours of the Estate Whim Plantation Museum and the Columbus Landing.
National Tourism Week was established in 1983 through a U.S. Congress resolution. The local theme is "Tourism … It's at Work in the U.S. Virgin Islands."
Tuesday will be "Hospitality Employee Day," allowing St. Thomas high school seniors to get firsthand experience as a tourism employee in a hotel setting.
Wednesday is "Wear Red Day," when tourism industry employees territorywide are asked to wear red clothing or a red ribbon in recognition of the 19 million tourism industry employees nationwide.
"With over 8,000 employees, one out of eight workers is employed in the tourism industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands," said a release from the V.I. Tourism Department.
"Our tourism providers greeted, assisted, hosted, entertained, and/or housed nearly 2.6 million visitors to the territory in 2001. In the wake of the tragedies of September 11, 2001, these dedicated individuals have proven that this industry can withstand tremendous setbacks and will rebound," said Tourism commissioner Pamela Richards.
On May 8 and 9, the tourism class from the St. Croix Educational Complex will participate in an executive internship program entitled "You're Hired." On St. Thomas May 9, industry leaders tell their stories as "Tourism Speaks Out to Schools."
On St. John May 9, tastes sights and sounds of local culture are the focus at the Cruz Bay Park "Culture Day". The public is invited to enjoy dolls, sauces and preserves, basket weaving, hotel information, herbal talks, music by Caribbean Sounds and KoKo and the Sunshine Band, and several guest speakers.
Richards pointed out that nationally the industry sees $600 billion in annual expenditures. "Of this, over $1.1 billion was spent in our territory in year 2000," she said.
For more information on Tourism Week activities contact the Tourism Week coordinator on St. Croix at 773-0495, St. John at 776-6450 and St. Thomas at 774-8784.
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