Top V.I. government officials met Tuesday with cruise line executives at a breakfast held at the Cruise Shipping Miami trade show.
According to a press release from the Tourism Department, the event sparked important conversation on partnership and investment opportunities to establish cruise industry growth at the territory’s three cruise shipping ports.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. led the briefing with West Indian Co. Executive Director Joseph Boschulte, V.I. Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe, Public Works Commissioner Darryl A. Smalls and Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty also attending.
Together the delegation provided an update on the territory’s investments, initiatives and enhancements to infrastructure and shore excursion opportunities that they said will make the territory an even more desirable port of call.
"Meeting with the industry’s leading cruise industry authorities is a key strategy to bringing more ships to our destination," deJongh said. "As a result of this presentation, we were able to answer questions, change perceptions and spark important dialogue that will generate more tourism dollars for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ economy."
The 17 cruise line executives in attendance were eager to learn more about infrastructure improvements, growth in shore excursion opportunities and an update on safety and security, according to the release.
Among those in attendance were Carnival Corp. & PLC, Disney Cruise Lines, Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.
Cruise passenger visits and spending in the territory increased 4.9 percent in 2013. The territory has invested millions in infrastructure to enhance the port experience for both cruise lines and their passengers. This includes fresh culinary options, harbor transportation and enhanced shore excursion opportunities across the territory.