I read with some interest both the original story of the missed calls by the Tourism office, and the letter from Ms. Richards, commissioner of Tourism. I agree wholeheartedly that it would be eminently sensible for the office of Tourism to provide some means of answering calls after hours, given that here in the VI we are anywhere from one to more than four hours out-of-sync with the rest of the United States. A computer operated answering system with fax-on-demand capabilities can be had for about what it costs to send just one Senator on a one-day junket. Seems like good return on investment, to me.
Ms. Richards' letter also made a great deal of sense to me. The decision not to fund another billfishing tournament production and to fund, instead, a program reflecting our culture and history narrated by a nationally known personality seems eminently sensible to me. Given that Tourism's budget is hopelessly inadequate at best, I don't see how you could get as much bang for the buck anywhere else. Burt Wolf is a known value and PBS is watched by just the sort of people who would travel to the Virgin Islands. I applaud the decision to go with culture and bypass the sport for now, even though I am an avid fisherman myself. Our history, culture and food are certainly a more dependable resource than the ever-diminishing billfishing in the area, too. If one looks at the advertisements being run nationally by Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, they will see that the current thrust of all those advertising campaigns is the culture and history and not the fishing. Culture and history are, obviously, a significant attraction for visitors to the area. We would be foolish not to recognize that and capitalize on it. I commend Commissioner Richards and her staff for making a sound decision, and I wish them continued success.
TOURISM WISE TO FOCUS ON CULTURE
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