The V.I. Department of Tourism concluded a four-day marketing mission in the New York City area Thursday and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty will be testifying to Congress on Tuesday, according to government officials.
In New York, a delegation led by Gov. John deJongh Jr. met with more than 90 editors, contributing writers, travel bloggers and meeting planners.
“We’re on a strategic mission to expand the number of development projects and business investments coming into the territory, and sustain growth in our tourism arrival numbers,” deJongh said in a statement from Government House. “As economic indicators in the U.S. shift in a positive direction, we’re launching every effort to ensure we maintain warm business leads and high interest among our key audiences in our top stateside market.”
On Tuesday, 60 editors and contributing writers from New York’s leading newspapers, magazines and news websites met in midtown Manhattan for a “taste” of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Attendees were greeted with the sights, sounds and aromas of the U.S. Virgin Islands as Chef Theo Gumbs prepared seafood kalalloo and fungi, artisan Judy Bain displayed her Caribbean cultural dolls and mixologist Al Boston served signature cocktails featuring Cruzan Rum’s newest flavors and St. John Brewers’ one-of-a-kind ales. Dion Parson and the 21st Century Band also performed.
Twelve tourism industry representatives from St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas were stationed throughout the event to share hotel, attraction and activity updates with attending media. Representatives from Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, The Buccaneer, Caneel Bay, Eco Serendib Villa & Spa, Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, Sand Castle on the Beach, The Westin St. John, The Ritz-Carlton, the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, the St. Thomas/St. John Chamber of Commerce, the USVI Hotel & Tourism Association and the St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association were also there.
On Wednesday, following a private tour of the New York Stock Exchange, deJongh, Nicholson-Doty and other V.I. representatives had a series of meetings with planners, airline representatives and tourism industry officials. They also met with media outlets representing African American, bridal, culinary, lifestyle and business travel, including Everyday with Rachel Ray, O Magazine and Parade.
DeJongh and Nicholson-Doty met with the executive education editor of Huffington Post, one of the world’s largest online news platforms, to highlight the administration’s investments in education and efforts to educate Virgin Islands youth on the importance of tourism.
During the meeting, they shared the economic development challenges facing the territory and the increasing importance of tourism as the main engine of economic growth. The editor offered deJongh "a platform to discuss varied topical news items of interest to Virgin Islanders, Caribbean nationals and millions of readers who visit HuffingtonPost.com and who receive their respective news products," according to Government House.
At Christensen’s request, Nicholson-Doty has been invited to testify at the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade’s hearing on U.S. tourism next Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., according to Christensen’s office. The hearing will be webcast live at http://energycommerce.house.gov/.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase tourism in the U.S. Virgin Islands and to make the important link in the minds of my colleagues and the rest of the country that the territories are indeed an integral part of the social, cultural and economic fabric of our country,” said Christensen in a statement from her office.
The committee hearing is expected to hear testimony from tourism, government and business officials from Florida, California and Nevada, according to Christensen.