The Department of Tourism (DOT) will go to Miami the week of March 15-20 for planned events to market the territory to the South Florida market, including strategic industry partner meetings, media and travel agent receptions, and television exposure. Designed to enhance industry relationships and keep bookings strong throughout 2010 and beyond, a series of events have been timed in connection with the annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, which brings together thousands of cruise industry leaders from around the world.
The DOT arrives in Miami with a variety of destination updates to share with media, agents and potential visitors, including new bookable offers for travelers including the its Family Fun and Dive in Five promotions as well as updates on upcoming events and festivals.
The week’s lineup includes receptions for A-list media and top-producing travel agents, a TV appearance on Miami’s NBC affiliate and numerous meetings with key airline and cruise executives to ensure that the destination maintains strong relationships with key industry partners.
The department has again joined the Virgin Islands Port Authority and West Indian Company Ltd. to participate as a key exhibitor at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention. A primary goal for the week’s activities will be to engage in serious dialogue with cruise executives. To accomplish this, the delegation has proactively pre-arranged meetings with leaders of the cruise industry to strengthen existing relationships, aggressively pursue a prime position for the U.S. Virgin Islands on cruise itineraries and ensure growth of overall cruise visits.
For the second year, the destination will showcase its redesigned experiential trade show exhibit at the conference, which showcases the look and feel of traditional Virgin Islands architecture. While conducting business, conference attendees can sample Cruzan rum and enjoy local music and cuisine prepared by Chef Leslie Gumbs of St. Thomas. Although the exhibit was created specifically for last year’s Cruise Shipping Conference, it has been utilized at major conferences year-round.
On Tuesday, March 16, the DOT will host a reception for top-producing travel and cruise travel agents, to educate them on the latest destination updates and special offers to entice travel to the destination.
The following evening, on Wednesday, March 17, the DOT will greet more than 30 high-profile travel and lifestyle media for a media reception event, during which guests will meet and mingle with tourism ambassadors from the U. S. Virgin Islands – including St. Thomas Chef Leslie Gumbs and representative for the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, Katherine Pugliese. These individuals will be on hand along with the DOT’s marketing team to provide an update on the many cultural offerings, culinary offerings, world-class hotels, quaint inns and many attractions that travelers can experience on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. In keeping with the department’s strategy to increase on-island spending and the economic impact from cruise passengers, the team will also prominently highlight activities and attractions that cruise guests can experience during a day visit to the destination. Additionally, guests will be treated to special Cruzan Rum tastings as well as Caribbean-inspired cuisine and live entertainment by a native steel pan performer.
To generate even more buzz, the destination will be featured on the top-rated TV show, “South Florida Today” (NBC) on Wednesday, March 17, beginning at 11 a.m. Throughout the hour-long show, the territory will be showcased as a “must visit” destination this year, spotlighting its value, visitor experience and easy access from Miami. Leslie Gumbs will serve up local Virgin Islands dishes on-air while Katherine Pugliese will highlight St. Croix’s vibrant culinary scene. Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa will serve as spokesperson for the U.S.V.I. and share all of the exciting tourism updates and new developments that travelers enjoy.