Oct. 18, 2007 — About 100 travel writers, radio personalities and magazine editors crowded into a hip Midtown Manhattan cocktail party Wednesday night to hear why the Virgin Islands should be on their minds.
Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty said the media folks at the Core Club had the ear of the territorys key tourism market.
This market is crucial for us, Nicholson Doty said. About 70 percent of our arrivals are from the tri-state area.
Topping her reasons for the gathering was to reinforce the "no passport required" message the department has been pushing since federal rules changed last year. Travelers must have passports to enter or re-enter the United States by air from the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda or Canada.
The rule, which affects U.S. citizens and all other air travelers, was waived temporarily over the summer due to a passport-processing backlog. But wait times have returned to normal, and the policy went back into effect on October 1.
It does not affect travelers arriving by land or sea, who may be required to present passports or other government-approved documents by the summer of 2008.
The passport issue remains one of the major issues for us out there, Doty said.
Second on her promotions list were new tourism attractions on all four islands: the Pond Bay development on St. John; Yacht Haven, Marriott Frenchmans Cove and At Home in the Tropics Bed and Breakfast on St. Thomas; the Virgin Islands Campground on Water Island; and a special airfare credit for visitors to St. Croix.
The St. Croix promotion offers visitors $250 in airfare credit on flights bought before Oct. 31. The passengers must book at least seven nights in St. Croix at a participating hotel.
We need to make sure the story of the U.S. Virgin Islands is out there, Doty said.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. originally had intended to be in New York, but was held up on St. Thomas for work-related reasons, she said.
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