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HomeNewsArchivesJACKSON WANTS TO CONCENTRATE ON TOURISM

JACKSON WANTS TO CONCENTRATE ON TOURISM

Rafael Jackson wants to concentrate on tourism.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's choice as Tourism commissioner told the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce Monday he would ask the Senate to change the law requiring him to serve also as chair of the Port Authority Board and the Industrial Development Commission.
He can't do justice to Tourism otherwise, Jackson told those at the luncheon meeting.
The 24-year veteran of Tourism, who came out of retirement to answer the governor's call, outlined the problems facing the Virgin Islands, a territory terribly dependent on tourists for the bulk of its income.
He said he was concerned about the decline in cruise ship visitors to the islands, especially considering the size of the newer mega-cruise ships.
Part of the problem was the V.I. wasn't included in the new three- to four-day cruises that have become a trend. He said destinations such as Cozumel and the Cayman Islands, closer to the mainland, were cashing in on those shorter cruises.
"Awareness of the Virgin Islands is down," he said, adding that lack of advertising and marketing are not the only reasons for a decline in tourism.
Jackson said the infrastructure, particularly traffic congestion, is part of the problem. He said tour wholesalers most often complain about the traffic problems on St. Thomas. He also said with tourism being the economic base of the economy, it is important to heighten tourism awareness at home.
Jackson said a "people to people" program is being implemented on St. Croix, where visitors would be invited to the island and would interact one on one with island residents.
In addition to an advertising campaign stateside, Jackson said, the territory will once again target countries to which it formerly directed marketing such as Argentina and Germany, as well as Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries.
Jackson said he is going to ask the administration to free up funds to reopen offshore offices for which the government had been paying high rent even though they were unoccupied.
He also cited the problem of high airfares between the mainland and the Virgin Islands. From stateside, "You can go to Europe for what it costs to come to the Virgin Islands," he said.
He said he is working to create more competition by bringing in new airlines and getting some of the existing ones to increase service. He named Northwest and TWA as potential new carriers and said United Airlines was "toying with adding daily flights." Currently United flies into St. Thomas only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Another initiative, Jackson said, is to hold educational seminars for travel professionals on the mainland.
Chamber members got to see and hear the television and radio spots currently advertising the territory on the mainland.
The concept for the three TV spots is a moving postcard, with each promoting a particular island. Ogilvy and Mather, the government's new advertising agency, produced them in two weeks for $100,000. The radio spots are "weather reports," telling listeners about the weather in the Virgin Islands.
Asked about landing fees as a deterrent to getting airlines into the territory, Jackson said the Port Authority had "bent over backwards" to keep its fees in line with those of other destinations.

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Rafael Jackson wants to concentrate on tourism.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's choice as Tourism commissioner told the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce Monday he would ask the Senate to change the law requiring him to serve also as chair of the Port Authority Board and the Industrial Development Commission.
He can't do justice to Tourism otherwise, Jackson told those at the luncheon meeting.
The 24-year veteran of Tourism, who came out of retirement to answer the governor's call, outlined the problems facing the Virgin Islands, a territory terribly dependent on tourists for the bulk of its income.
He said he was concerned about the decline in cruise ship visitors to the islands, especially considering the size of the newer mega-cruise ships.
Part of the problem was the V.I. wasn't included in the new three- to four-day cruises that have become a trend. He said destinations such as Cozumel and the Cayman Islands, closer to the mainland, were cashing in on those shorter cruises.
"Awareness of the Virgin Islands is down," he said, adding that lack of advertising and marketing are not the only reasons for a decline in tourism.
Jackson said the infrastructure, particularly traffic congestion, is part of the problem. He said tour wholesalers most often complain about the traffic problems on St. Thomas. He also said with tourism being the economic base of the economy, it is important to heighten tourism awareness at home.
Jackson said a "people to people" program is being implemented on St. Croix, where visitors would be invited to the island and would interact one on one with island residents.
In addition to an advertising campaign stateside, Jackson said, the territory will once again target countries to which it formerly directed marketing such as Argentina and Germany, as well as Denmark and the other Scandinavian countries.
Jackson said he is going to ask the administration to free up funds to reopen offshore offices for which the government had been paying high rent even though they were unoccupied.
He also cited the problem of high airfares between the mainland and the Virgin Islands. From stateside, "You can go to Europe for what it costs to come to the Virgin Islands," he said.
He said he is working to create more competition by bringing in new airlines and getting some of the existing ones to increase service. He named Northwest and TWA as potential new carriers and said United Airlines was "toying with adding daily flights." Currently United flies into St. Thomas only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Another initiative, Jackson said, is to hold educational seminars for travel professionals on the mainland.
Chamber members got to see and hear the television and radio spots currently advertising the territory on the mainland.
The concept for the three TV spots is a moving postcard, with each promoting a particular island. Ogilvy and Mather, the government's new advertising agency, produced them in two weeks for $100,000. The radio spots are "weather reports," telling listeners about the weather in the Virgin Islands.
Asked about landing fees as a deterrent to getting airlines into the territory, Jackson said the Port Authority had "bent over backwards" to keep its fees in line with those of other destinations.