83.9 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 2, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCLOSE MOST TOURISM OFFICES, PUSH PUERTO RICO

CLOSE MOST TOURISM OFFICES, PUSH PUERTO RICO

Dear Source,
As a former senator from St Thomas and longtime businessman there, I feel I need to comment on the subject of the offshore Tourism offices.
I worked with [Commissioner-designate Rafael] Jackson for a year in New York under then-Commerce Commissioner Amadeo Frances setting up the Industrial Development Commission mainland office, and I need to tell you that now the Virgin Islands has one very, very fine tourism expert in Commissioner Jackson. He is the very best. The saddest thing about the mainland and foreign offices is they were never set up properly or funded at all, other than salaries.
The immediate need to save money at this point would, I think, call for closing the five offices overseas. These I do believe are totally useless, unless someone could prove otherwise, and filling one airplane to the islands is not enough. Close them now.
The Puerto Rico office needs funding badly and should be given a boost. For many years, the Puerto Rican market has saved the merchants during the summer months. If hotels, etc., were to offer packages and incentives to that market, it would do wonders. It has been all but forgotten. You would think that we would learn from the past.
The airfare is a problem. Between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands it's a big ripoff. How about subsidizing day-trippers coming over from San Juan — say a rate of $20 a ticket. You would get thousands of Puerto Ricans in the summer and many tourists in the winter. The merchants and hotels would need to cooperate in the effort. It seems to me that since I left Main Street years ago, the merchants there now want everything handed to them on a silver platter.
As to stateside, I would close all but the Los Angeles, New York and maybe Florida offices — and move the New York one to the suburbs to save on rent. No one goes to the 6th floor of Rockefeller Plaza to get a brochure or set up a V.I. trip anymore.
The Coral Gables office is in the wrong place. The city is 95 percent Hispanic, including rich former dictators and politicians from South America. These folks travel, but mostly to Spain and other Hispanic locales. Move that office over to Miami Beach, where millions of tourists and local people traffic all over, or close it.
I also feel the need to comment on the trips and money wasted by former governors and commissioners on trips to Hong Kong, Tawain, Japan and wherever else their expensive joyrides took them. We are still waiting to see the investment and tourism business that was to result.
As to your headline question: Are the mainland Tourism offices productive or pork barrels? Today, they are mostly pork barrels..
David A. Puritz
Florida

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

STAY CONNECTED

20,771FansLike
4,756FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Dear Source,
As a former senator from St Thomas and longtime businessman there, I feel I need to comment on the subject of the offshore Tourism offices.
I worked with [Commissioner-designate Rafael] Jackson for a year in New York under then-Commerce Commissioner Amadeo Frances setting up the Industrial Development Commission mainland office, and I need to tell you that now the Virgin Islands has one very, very fine tourism expert in Commissioner Jackson. He is the very best. The saddest thing about the mainland and foreign offices is they were never set up properly or funded at all, other than salaries.
The immediate need to save money at this point would, I think, call for closing the five offices overseas. These I do believe are totally useless, unless someone could prove otherwise, and filling one airplane to the islands is not enough. Close them now.
The Puerto Rico office needs funding badly and should be given a boost. For many years, the Puerto Rican market has saved the merchants during the summer months. If hotels, etc., were to offer packages and incentives to that market, it would do wonders. It has been all but forgotten. You would think that we would learn from the past.
The airfare is a problem. Between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands it's a big ripoff. How about subsidizing day-trippers coming over from San Juan -- say a rate of $20 a ticket. You would get thousands of Puerto Ricans in the summer and many tourists in the winter. The merchants and hotels would need to cooperate in the effort. It seems to me that since I left Main Street years ago, the merchants there now want everything handed to them on a silver platter.
As to stateside, I would close all but the Los Angeles, New York and maybe Florida offices -- and move the New York one to the suburbs to save on rent. No one goes to the 6th floor of Rockefeller Plaza to get a brochure or set up a V.I. trip anymore.
The Coral Gables office is in the wrong place. The city is 95 percent Hispanic, including rich former dictators and politicians from South America. These folks travel, but mostly to Spain and other Hispanic locales. Move that office over to Miami Beach, where millions of tourists and local people traffic all over, or close it.
I also feel the need to comment on the trips and money wasted by former governors and commissioners on trips to Hong Kong, Tawain, Japan and wherever else their expensive joyrides took them. We are still waiting to see the investment and tourism business that was to result.
As to your headline question: Are the mainland Tourism offices productive or pork barrels? Today, they are mostly pork barrels..
David A. Puritz
Florida