VIPA TAKES STEPS TO BOOST TOURISM

The V.I. Port Authority board passed two measures Wednesday designed to attract more cruise ships to St. Croix and additional airline flights to the territory.
Gordon Finch, executive director of VIPA, first put forth his proposals at the Legislature's Economic Summit in March and the board voted to accept them.
Under the plan all fees will be waived for cruise ships that dock in St. Croix for a period of three years, beginning in 2000, according to the V.I. Independent. Though the measure could cost the authority up to $250,000 a year Finch said it would be worth it if it draws more ships to the island.
The second measure will allow VIPA to waive fees at the airports for new airlines that schedule flights to St. Thomas and St. Croix or additional scheduled flights by airlines that already serve the territory. The action
was supported by new Federal Aviation Administration rules that permit fee waivers to promote additional flights.
The second initiative is expected to increase the number of overnight guests to the islands. The fee reduction will remain in place through Oct. 30.
The waiver of fees will not reduce income to the authority, according to Finch, since it only applies to additional flights, not existing ones.

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