U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. officially proclaimed May 3-9 as “Travel and Tourism Week” in the territory, applauding the thousands of Virgin Islanders who contribute to the growth, resiliency and strength of the V.I.’s lifeblood industry, and acknowledging the unprecedented damage inflicted upon tourism by the coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
In joining in the country’s annual celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, the governor urged the travel and tourism community to “support each other and remind the world that even through the most difficult times, this year’s theme of the ‘Spirit of Travel’ will be a necessary and prominent component of our return to everyday life and must be supported and protected at all costs.”
Heralding support for the industry that attracted two million visitors to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019, along with $1.25 billion spent by those guests, Bryan has asked residents to join him in saluting the “great men and women” who have committed themselves to providing “excellent service” in their tourism-related activities.
Gov. Bryan’s proclamation noted that tourism “contributes substantially to the social and cultural well-being of our people,” and recognized the industry’s power to promote “intercultural understanding and appreciation of the territory’s history, geography and culture.”
Travel and tourism in the United States is a $2.6 trillion industry; it generated $180 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2019. The industry supports close to 16 million jobs throughout the country.
USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte pointed out that nationally, travel and tourism are the nation’s second largest service export, surpassed only by business services. One in every nine jobs in America depends on travel.
Echoing Bryan’s proclamation, Boschulte said, “It is imperative that our product, our people and our purpose remain authentic, fresh, innovative and resilient as we prepare for the return of visitors to our shores.”
Several activities have been organized for Travel and Tourism Week, including a Virtual Career Fair for the territory’s high school students on Wednesday, May 6.