The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism aggressively promoted the territory’s “Open Doors” policy during the U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow 2022 Conference held June 4-8 in Orlando, Florida for international buyers, wholesalers and travel specialists.
The USVI footprint, as a major sponsor, remained visible throughout the entire conference showcasing the islands as a marquis Caribbean destination, which stands ready for international business, according to a press release about the event.
Branded activations included USVI imagery in the conference’s app and across the show’s entrance and floor, the USVI logo was prominently positioned in all programs and IPW branded signage. The department showcased the territory’s rich culture through live performances at three major events with local dancers, mocko jumbies, and a steel pan drummer. Key events included the USVI Media Marketplace, which featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a reception with USVI-inspired dishes. At the reception, Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte gave brief remarks and introduced Chris Thompson, the CEO of Brand USA.
More than 4,800 conference participants engaged with an estimated 1,000 exhibitors on the conference floor. The USVI team conducted 60-plus appointments from buyers, airline reps, and international press at the destination’s booth. The commissioner and other key team members met with over 30 media outlets during the media marketplace, the release stated.
Boschulte presented tourism updates to more than 200 journalists at the USVI press conference touting Tourism’s strategy of aggressively focusing on increasing airlift and overnight stays, resulting in the region’s tourism growth despite the pandemic and ongoing recovery from the twin Category 5 hurricanes of September 2017.
“We continue to consider ourselves very fortunate as our islands were able to recover quickly and position ourselves strongly thanks to our government’s strategic direction and leadership during the pandemic,” Boschulte said.
“As one of the first Caribbean destinations to engage international markets during this period with sales activations to Denmark and Italy, the territory stands ready for international business culminating this strategy with strong positioning at IPW. We want to continue this momentum by building upon our existing relationships and forging new opportunities in the international market with the hope of diversifying the visitor makeup to the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Boschulte said.
Destination highlights shared during the press conference include:
- Effective June 1, the USVI Travel Screening Portal was removed from the USVI’s travel policy, dropping restrictions for all domestic travelers. Federal guidelines and restrictions will continue to apply to international travel, including air travel from the British Virgin Islands.
- Two new properties will be opening on St. Thomas this fall following a $350 million renovation, the Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, an Autograph Collection.
- At the center of culture, Festival continues in the U.S. Virgin Islands with the 68th Celebration of St. John festival returning June 26 to July 4. It will be followed by the 70th annual St. Croix Festival, known as the Crucian Christmas Festival, in December.
- In November, the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association will host the USVI Charter Yacht Show.
- New to the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Tourism Department recently announced a three-year partnership with Uber Soca Cruise, widely known in the Caribbean as the largest soca fete on the sea.