The V.I. Tourism Department has entered a month-long partnership with “The Wendy Williams Show” in an effort to highlight the destination’s unique offerings on an international stage, the department announced in a press release issued Wednesday.
The promotion runs from Thursday through May 25 and features Wendy’s Hot Tropics Giveaway as well as special guest appearances from the Caribbean Ritual Dancers on Thursday, chef Leslie "Theo" Gumbs on May 16 and Virgin Islands recording artist Delyno “Pressure Busspipe” Brown on May 22. The partnership complements the upcoming V.I. Nice summer travel promotion.
"We are keen to embark on this partnership to expose millions of national and international viewers who tune into ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ each week to the creative talent on the Virgin Islands," said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty in a press release. "The advertising equivalency – what we would have paid if we had bought time on ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ – is over $1.1 million. That’s an enormous value to the territory and our tourism partners."
The partnership kicks off on Thursday’s show with Wendy’s Hot Tropics Giveaway and the Caribbean Ritual Dancers performing to a new song for Carnival 2014 titled "Mass is the Mission" by soca artist and Virgin Islands native Patrick “Solijah” Farrell.
Virgin Islands resident Gumbs will perform a cooking demonstration in May of a local Caribbean-inspired dish. He is an internationally renowned chef who is best known for combining his love of regional flavors with world cuisine. He has served as an island ambassador while featured on NBC’s “Today Show,” Canada’s CTV and CW’s “Newsfix.”
The monthlong partnership will culminate with a high-energy performance by Pressure Busspipe, who will perform "Virgin Islands Nice."
The giveaway runs for four weeks, with viewers entering to win a seven-night trip to the territory by submitting the Virgin Islands-themed word of the day online.
The contest will be promoted on Williams’ social media channels, which have 1.2 million twitter followers and 1.9 million Facebook likes. Additionally Wendy’s e-newsletter is distributed to 610,000 fans. Wendy’s Facebook cover photo will change to the Virgin Islands themed image promoting the trip giveaway.
Hotel prize partners include Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa, The Westin St. John Resort, Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, and The Buccaneer Hotel. The estimated value of the four prize packages including accommodations, meals and travel is $32,219.
Williams, who Wikipedia lists as a New Jersey native, first started as an intern at St. Croix’s WVIS radio. Following a 23-year career in radio, she embarked on the "The Wendy Williams Show," which now screens nationally on BET and is syndicated across the United States and in 52 countries. The show has been renewed for eight seasons through 2017.
The Tourism Department will share online clips of the episodes once they air on the USVI Twitter (@USVITourism) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI) pages.