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U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS SETS ITS SIGHTS ON HOTEL DEVELOPMENT

USVI Tourism Talks Investment at CHICOS Conference

 

USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte (right) is pictured with (from left) Bahamas Senator Randy Rolle; Joy Jibrilu, Bahamas Director General of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; John H.W. Pinder II, Parliamentary Secretary, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation; Parris Jordan, Managing Director, HVS; Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis; and Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) is buoyed by investor interest in the Territory and the wider Caribbean.

Attending the recently concluded annual Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) in The Bahamas, USVI Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte was encouraged by the strong sense of hope and optimism that permeated the three-day conference.

"I think there's a lot of money that has been sidelined over the past 20 months that's ready to go to work. They're trying to find investment areas to go and we're hopeful that the U.S. Virgin Islands is well positioned to be able to benefit from that," said Commissioner Boschulte, who along with his team joined Caribbean and international tourism executives, developers and investors, operators, bankers and other lenders to discuss the region's markets and possibilities, and analyze trends that can impact investment decisions.

The Territory's tourism chief shared that the U.S. Virgin Islands' tourism industry performed exceptionally well during COVID-19, with solid airlift in place to support a steady stream of stayover leisure visitors and the charter yacht sector providing water-based opportunities for pandemic-weary travelers. 

The Commissioner noted that several hotel properties that had been damaged by two Category 5 hurricanes in 2017 have recently come back online or are preparing to do so shortly. "We have wonderful assets that are there to be marketed and enhanced, and my conversations here [at CHICOS] show that there is high interest for the USVI in terms of hotel development," he said.

With the peak winter travel season just a few weeks away, Commissioner Boschulte is optimistic about the Territory's future even as he acknowledges that there is uncertainty where COVID-19 is concerned.

"Load factors so far are doing extremely well, but we must be fluid as the pandemic is still here ... the hope is that more people will get vaccinated and continue to follow the protocols," he opined.

As they look to 2022 and beyond, one key takeaway for Commissioner Boschulte and his team is that Caribbean tourism is alive and well - both in the land-based and charter yacht spaces. Cruise tourism, Boschulte believes, will need more time to return to pre-pandemic levels.

"By being here, we have let the international investor community know that we are open and ready to work with them to develop hotel properties in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Furthermore, a healthy Caribbean in terms of tourism means that the USVI will continue to be successful," he asserted.

At the conference, Commissioner Boschulte was featured in a plenary session during which he spoke about the USVI's performance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the U.S. Virgin Islands

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to  VisitUSVI.com, follow them on Instagram ( @visitusvi) and Twitter ( @usvitourism), and become a fan on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI ). When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - including on-line check-in - making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.

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