In an effort to support increased air service and engage thousands of potential travelers in the territory’s top market, New York, the Tourism Department launched a marketing partnership with the New York Yankees to boost travel to the territory this fall and winter. The three-week promotion began Aug. 30 and will lead up to Sunday’s special USVI Day at Yankee Stadium.
"The USVI welcomes more than 115,000 visitors a year from the New York market, therefore it’s critical for us to continue supporting and growing air access to the territory from our core markets to ensure the long-term health of our tourism industry," Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said in a press release issued Tuesday.
"The New York Yankees is the perfect batting partner to help us increase visitor arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands this fall and winter," Nicholson-Doty said.
On USVI Day, the Tourism Department will host two on-site branded kiosks where destination representatives will meet spectators to promote travel to St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. A green-screen photo booth will allow visitors to literally picture themselves in the territory and post their images on social media, the press release indicates.
Former Yankee Horace Clarke, who hails from the Virgin Islands, will be at Yankee Stadium to personally invite stadium-goers to visit the territory. Signed by New York City’s premiere baseball team as an amateur free agent in 1958, Clarke made his Major League Baseball debut in 1965.
In collaboration with the Yankees, a text-to-win sweepstakes was conducted at 10 home games between Aug. 30 and Sept. 8. A winner was randomly selected from contest entrants at each game to attend a Virgin Islands-themed reception in Yankee Stadium’s Delta SKY360 Suite on Sunday. The winners will join invited journalists, meeting planners, travel agents and territorial ambassadors to enjoy destination-themed cuisine, cocktails and live entertainment.
Three trips, each valued at $3,000, will be given away on Sunday. Prizes include roundtrip airfare for two people, five nights’ accommodation, as well as $200 in dining, shopping and activity certificates. Two packages will be won by baseball fans who submit their names at the two branded kiosks, while the third will be given to one of the 10 chosen through the text-to-win promotion.
Each prize will be broadcast live on the stadium’s screen. Accommodation partners contributing to the prize packages are St. Croix’s Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort and Casino, the Westin St. John Resort and Villas, and St. Thomas’ Secret Harbour Beach Resort.
Beyond the giveaways, the territory will also reach consumers through three 30-second commercials on the stadium’s 238 screens during pre-game activities. A full-page advertisement will be featured in the September 2013 issue of Yankees Magazine.
The Tourism Department will leverage the Yankees partnership to drive bookings for its current Delta Air Lines Island Time Getaway deal, where travelers can access savings of more than $450 on reservations that include a Tuesday or Wednesday departure booked by Sept. 30 for travel through May 31, 2014.
An advertising campaign will complement the partnership’s public relations activities and the direct-to-consumer marketing efforts.
Starting in September, Delta will continue daily scheduled service from Atlanta to St. Thomas with an additional second departure each Saturday. A weekly flight between New York’s JFK Airport and St. Thomas on Saturdays will also be maintained. In the past, the airline had reduced lift to the territory each fall through mid-February.