Aug. 17, 2008 — After a drought of several years and three ships scheduled for all of 2008, 48 ships have requested berthing in Frederiksted, St. Croix in 2009.
Based on the berthing requests, next year's arrivals will represent a total of 121,768 passengers to the island of St. Croix with 43,986 crew members.
The news comes following months of dialogue between the major cruise lines and the territory's Cruise Ship Working Group established by Gov. John deJongh Jr.
The group expanded St. Croix marketing at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention this past March and discussed increased service to St. Croix and the territory in face to face talks with cruise line colleagues. The Department of Tourism has a new branding campaign for the island, based on consumer research, that underscores travelers' desire for a Caribbean port of call that is "not like the rest" and feedback from the cruise lines seeking a distinct marketing identity for St. Croix.
The campaign, themed "St. Croix: Your Port of Solace," features print and broadcast advertisements and a marketing video enticing visitors to experience the island of St. Croix in all of its beauty, culture and history. The campaign's marketing video features breathtaking images of notable sites throughout the island.
To prepare the destination for the return of cruise ships, the Department of Tourism in conjunction with the Economic Development Authority also hosted "The Preparing the Path Conference" earlier this month in St. Croix. The conference, attended by over 200 residents and business owners, offered seminars on topics ranging from customer service and tour operations to starting your own business. (See: "Conference Offers Hospitality Lessons for Expected Increase in Tourism.")
"I speak on behalf of the entire Territory in sharing our excitement for the significant increase in cruise ship arrivals that we can anticipate for St. Croix in 2009," deJongh said in a Government House press release. "I would like to recognize the collaborative efforts of the Cruise Ship Working Group that made this news a reality. This news demonstrates that we are expanding our core tourism market by showcasing our offerings on St. Croix, thereby opening new opportunities for our small businesses."
The working group consists of representatives of the Office of the Governor, Office of the Lt. Governor, St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce, St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, Our Town Frederiksted, Virgin Islands Port Authority, The West Indian Corporation, Customs and Border Protection, Legislature of the Virgin Islands, members of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association and the Department of Tourism.
Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty added, "It is our goal to continue to foster the growth of tourism to the destination by nurturing our relationships with the cruise industry in order to reach even more visitors in the domestic and international markets."
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, visit usvitourism.vi.
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