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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesSERVICE AND MONEY, KEYS TO TOURISM SUCCESS

SERVICE AND MONEY, KEYS TO TOURISM SUCCESS

"Service, service, and more service," stressed acting Tourism Commissioner Michael Bornn Wednesday night as he outlined his "vision" for the Virgin Islands before the St. Thomas- St. John Hotel Association at Bluebeards Hotel.
Along with service, Bornn said "profit is not a dirty word; profit is a good word." Private enterprise is where the world is going, and we must do things for a profit. For instance, special projects.
"As most of you know," Bornn said, "special projects has been my background, special events, but the operators, the promoters of these events will have to provide the cash, and we will do the marketing. It isn't the government's job to provide the money."
Bornn has several priorities and he addressed the most important first. To teach the service industry to provide friendly, efficient service, not because they are told to, because they want to. He said the Virgin Islands has two problems hindering this effort. "Education – for thirty years we have failed to properly educate.
"Secondly, there is the problem of entitlement. We don't want the younger generation growing up thinking the government owes them a job. We need to provide training that will create an opportunity for them to be successful in private enterprise."
That's just one of the things on the ambitious Bornn's agenda. Money is right up there. "My proposed (or demanded) $20 million budget isn't ideal –it's just what we can scrape by with for now."
Citing the tourism budgets of Barbados and the Cayman Islands, which exceed the Virgin Islands' by millions of dollars, Bornn lamented the manner in which our meager budget has been distributed.
Lauritz Mills, chief economist for the V.I. Bureau of Economic Research backed up Bornn's assessment of the tourism budget with figures from a study she did on the relationship between visitor arrivals and tourism budget expenditures. Basically stated, you have to spend money to make money, and we aren't spending enough, according to Bornn.
Three members of the senate attended the meeting and offered a few comments. Sen. "Rocky"Almondo Liburd mentioned he recently had been to New York and decided "just for fun to actually find our tourism office there that I keep hearing about." "Well," he said, "I finally
found it on the twenty-first floor! If I want to see something, I want it there. I'm not going up twenty-one floors."
"And we're not paying the $8,000 rent there anymore, either," Bornn rejoined to much laughter.
Senators Goodwin and Cole also provided a few observations. Goodwin noted that in a recent trip to Tortola he had been impressed by their particular emphasis on the service industry.
Referring to the Virgin Islands relationship to the rest of the Caribbean, Bornn had this to say: "The other islands aren't our competitors; they are our neighbors, and we can piggy-back on their
marketing. Our competitors are Europe, Russian, the United States. We want visitors to come to the Caribbean. Ideally, we want the Virgin Island to be synonymous with the Caribbean."
"An Internet presence is going to be the foundation of our marketing. This we will do with global advertising. Our priorities will be tagging ten top United States cities, getting adequate airlift to the territory, and creating a London Gateway to feed European traffic,"
Bornn said. "We will not have tourism offices in a lot of cities, but we will have marketing representatives across the globe; they can be working from their own homes, because they will be on the Internet."
This statement was met with much applause .He was quick to add that this doesn't mean we will disregard travel agents and wholesalers. This is in addition to their services.
Another area of concern is marketing St. Croix. "St. Croix needs to be known as an island in itself, not some code destination along with St. Thomas. Someone even wondered if it was in the Pacific," he said.
Peter Ross, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association was in attendance. Bornn wants the St. Croix airport to be completed by 2002, not the 2004 scheduled date, as the larger aircraft can land there to help make St. Croix a Caribbean hub, Bornn said.
Noting that his office has selected an advertising agency, he said the new agency would be announced in "a few days, and I'm sure everyone will be excited by our selection." He has also managed to get some advertising out for the next four months to cover this year's tourism season.
Next on the agenda was the marine industry, and Bornn noted that "the marine industry is our future." He said that he had been in recent talks concerning water agreements for fishing, cruising and sailing with local and British Virgin Island representatives.
He also stated that "we have to have water taxis – that has to be incorporated into our taxi structure." This also was met with a big hand but not as big as when he announced that "the Ramada has got to go!"
Hotel Association President Dick Doumeng praised Bornn's tourism efforts and pleaded with the senators present "please don't take nine months to confirm him."

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"Service, service, and more service," stressed acting Tourism Commissioner Michael Bornn Wednesday night as he outlined his "vision" for the Virgin Islands before the St. Thomas- St. John Hotel Association at Bluebeards Hotel.
Along with service, Bornn said "profit is not a dirty word; profit is a good word." Private enterprise is where the world is going, and we must do things for a profit. For instance, special projects.
"As most of you know," Bornn said, "special projects has been my background, special events, but the operators, the promoters of these events will have to provide the cash, and we will do the marketing. It isn't the government's job to provide the money."
Bornn has several priorities and he addressed the most important first. To teach the service industry to provide friendly, efficient service, not because they are told to, because they want to. He said the Virgin Islands has two problems hindering this effort. "Education – for thirty years we have failed to properly educate.
"Secondly, there is the problem of entitlement. We don't want the younger generation growing up thinking the government owes them a job. We need to provide training that will create an opportunity for them to be successful in private enterprise."
That's just one of the things on the ambitious Bornn's agenda. Money is right up there. "My proposed (or demanded) $20 million budget isn't ideal –it's just what we can scrape by with for now."
Citing the tourism budgets of Barbados and the Cayman Islands, which exceed the Virgin Islands' by millions of dollars, Bornn lamented the manner in which our meager budget has been distributed.
Lauritz Mills, chief economist for the V.I. Bureau of Economic Research backed up Bornn's assessment of the tourism budget with figures from a study she did on the relationship between visitor arrivals and tourism budget expenditures. Basically stated, you have to spend money to make money, and we aren't spending enough, according to Bornn.
Three members of the senate attended the meeting and offered a few comments. Sen. "Rocky"Almondo Liburd mentioned he recently had been to New York and decided "just for fun to actually find our tourism office there that I keep hearing about." "Well," he said, "I finally
found it on the twenty-first floor! If I want to see something, I want it there. I'm not going up twenty-one floors."
"And we're not paying the $8,000 rent there anymore, either," Bornn rejoined to much laughter.
Senators Goodwin and Cole also provided a few observations. Goodwin noted that in a recent trip to Tortola he had been impressed by their particular emphasis on the service industry.
Referring to the Virgin Islands relationship to the rest of the Caribbean, Bornn had this to say: "The other islands aren't our competitors; they are our neighbors, and we can piggy-back on their
marketing. Our competitors are Europe, Russian, the United States. We want visitors to come to the Caribbean. Ideally, we want the Virgin Island to be synonymous with the Caribbean."
"An Internet presence is going to be the foundation of our marketing. This we will do with global advertising. Our priorities will be tagging ten top United States cities, getting adequate airlift to the territory, and creating a London Gateway to feed European traffic,"
Bornn said. "We will not have tourism offices in a lot of cities, but we will have marketing representatives across the globe; they can be working from their own homes, because they will be on the Internet."
This statement was met with much applause .He was quick to add that this doesn't mean we will disregard travel agents and wholesalers. This is in addition to their services.
Another area of concern is marketing St. Croix. "St. Croix needs to be known as an island in itself, not some code destination along with St. Thomas. Someone even wondered if it was in the Pacific," he said.
Peter Ross, president of the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association was in attendance. Bornn wants the St. Croix airport to be completed by 2002, not the 2004 scheduled date, as the larger aircraft can land there to help make St. Croix a Caribbean hub, Bornn said.
Noting that his office has selected an advertising agency, he said the new agency would be announced in "a few days, and I'm sure everyone will be excited by our selection." He has also managed to get some advertising out for the next four months to cover this year's tourism season.
Next on the agenda was the marine industry, and Bornn noted that "the marine industry is our future." He said that he had been in recent talks concerning water agreements for fishing, cruising and sailing with local and British Virgin Island representatives.
He also stated that "we have to have water taxis – that has to be incorporated into our taxi structure." This also was met with a big hand but not as big as when he announced that "the Ramada has got to go!"
Hotel Association President Dick Doumeng praised Bornn's tourism efforts and pleaded with the senators present "please don't take nine months to confirm him."