May 9, 2005 Tourists visiting St. Thomas Monday wandered through the Emancipation Garden listening to the pulsating rhythm of the steel pan as they browsed through booths filled with locally made items.
The Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Steel Pans was responsible for the enchanting tunes that drew the visitors to the park and compelled them to make purchases of local jewelry, dolls, sandals and other goodies.
The music and booths, which came as a treat for the many tourists walking through the park, were part of Tourism Fair Day. The Tourism Department, in collaboration with the Committee to Revitalize our Culture, sponsored the event as one of the activities for the 22nd Annual National Tourism Week, which runs from May 7 15.
Karen Schubert, a visitor from St. Louis, Missouri, sat with friends on a section of the low wall surrounding the park listening to the music played by the BCB students.
"This is my first time hearing steel pan music," Schubert said. "It's very nice."
Douglas Archibald and his wife Lynn, who were visiting family on Water Island, agreed. Archibald said they had just come over to St. Thomas for the day and heard the "beautiful" sounds of the steel pan.
"We weren't expecting this," Archibald said, adding it was a "pleasant surprise."
Nearby, Gloria Zakers, owner of Caribbean Glo Handmade Jewelry, showed off her pieces to a group of tourists. Zakers, who has been in business for four years, makes the jewelry herself using beads, bits of conch shells and mother of pearl.
"They should have [a fair] once a week as far as I'm concerned," Zakers said, adding she would participate even if she had to pay for booth space. "The tourists love it."
The Tourism Department has dubbed this year's theme "Tourism Works for America's Caribbean." Activities are scheduled throughout this week in both districts to help increase tourism awareness.
"National Tourism Week provides us an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the people and places that make the U.S. Virgin Islands one of the Caribbean's most sought-after destinations," Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards was quoted as saying in a release on the department's Web site. "Whether festive or formal, each event is designed to call attention to the paramount importance of tourism to our economy."
Here is a list of activities taking place in the St. Thomas/St. John District this week:
– Monday: Tourism Fair Day from 8 a.m. 3 p.m. at Emancipation Gardens.
– Monday Friday: WSTA 1340 a.m. will host a question and answer segment during Addie Ottley's morning show. Winners will be given prizes.
– Tuesday: Tourism Hospitality Day The department will sponsor a hospitality lounge at the Welcome Center for all workers in the Tourism Industry.
– Thursday: Tourism Speaks Out Tourism officials will speak to students about tourism and its impact on the community.
– Friday: Tourist for a Day Students from different schools will experience what it feels like to be tourists for a day.
Here is a list of the St. Croix District activities:
– Monday Friday: Tourism Awareness Booths will be placed at the Florence Williams and Althalie McFarlane Petersen libraries. WJKC-Isle 95 will co-sponsor a Know Your Islands and Go Places trivia contest.
– Tuesday: Educational Tours Junior High School students will take educational tours of St. Croix, including popular tourist attractions.
– Wednesday: Tourism Awareness Speakers Bureau 10 a.m. to noon at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix Campus, Little Theatre. Speakers include: Richards and UVI Professor Solomon Kabuka.
– Thursday Friday: You're Hired Tourism Executive Internships Qualifying high schools students will be offered two-day internships with tourism industry officials.
– Friday: Cultural Day 2005: Embracing Tourism through our Cultural Past The annual event at Buddhoe Park will feature local cuisine and cultural dancing.
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