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Gowrie Group Talks Travel Insurance; Carnival Show Opens USVI Charter Yacht Show Nov. 11-14

Qara at anchor (Courtesy Yacht Qara)

More people are traveling. Air arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands were up 24.8% in 2022 outpacing pre-pandemic numbers in 2019, according to the USVI Bureau of Economic Research. Yet overall, less than half (38%) of travelers surveyed by New York, NY-headquartered Personal Finance Insider in 2023 said they purchased trip insurance.*

Risk Strategies — Gowrie Group, the official insurance supplier of the USVI Charter Yacht Show for the seventh year, will feature its new Trawick – Safe Travels Voyager policy at the USVI Charter Yacht Show. The show is set for Nov. 11-14, at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande Marina St Thomas, and is organized by the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA). What’s more, Risk Strategies – Gowrie Group will also feature its Health Insurance Program for active members of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association, which includes a Crew Medical Program for captains and crew, and a Land Medical Program for Virgin Islands-based vessel managers and vessel owners, Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VJPCA) suppliers, and businesses that service Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association clients and members.

“Traveling has become part of our life again in a post-pandemic world, but COVID-19 made us all realize that we need proper Trip and Travel Medical Insurance Plans in place before takeoff. We advise that all charterers have a Travel Insurance and/or a Travel Medical Insurance Plan in place,” said Rick Bagnall, Risk Strategies – Gowrie Group senior vice president, who will be presenting a seminar on Travel Medical Insurance and the evolving market on Sunday, Nov. 12 and Monday, Nov. 13, Noon-12:30 p.m. at Indigo 4. Bagnall will dive deep into key industry points including Cancel for Any Reason, Travel Medical, Medical Evacuation, Coordination of Care, Claims and more.

Gowrie Group shows its sponsor support during the Carnival Show at the 2022 USVI Charter Yacht Show. (Courtesy Mango Media)

Gowrie Group is a part of Risk Strategies, a leading national specialty insurance and risk management firm. In 2023, Risk Strategies was named the 9th largest privately owned broker, ranked No. 2965 on the 2023 Inc. 5000 list, its annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. The company was also named a 2023 Fast 50 Company, representing the 50 fastest-growing private companies in Massachusetts.

“Traveling to St. Thomas, flying in and flying out, makes this show very accessible to the U.S. As a broker, this is sometimes our only opportunity to see the yachts and meet with the crews for the entire year as well as meeting the local vendors,” says Kevin Jonas, president of Mainsail Yacht Charters LLC, based in Bedford, N.H. “As a broker too, Gowrie Group has been quick to reply and make it easy for my clients to ask questions about the various types of travel insurance they offer. They also offer a great variety of travel insurance policies which gives the clients plenty to choose from so they can get the best coverage for their charter.”

What’s New – Carnival Celebration, Watersports Demonstration, Seminars and Land and Sea Broker Trips

It’s Carnival, baby, and the USVI Department of Tourism is bringing the authentic sights and sounds of this cultural showcase to welcome USVI Charter Yacht Show participants. A parade of performers will dance through the marina from 4-5 p.m. on Nov. 11.

“The Division of Festivals and the broader Department of Tourism are always excited at the opportunity to partner with the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association to ensure visitors receive an authentic cultural experience. This year we wanted to give the Charter Show stakeholders a taste of a Virgin Islands parade, with cultural dancers, mocko jumbies, steel pannists and majorettes,” said Ian Turnbull, director of the USVI Division of Festivals.

To add to the spectacle of the Carnival parade, from 4-5 p.m., Island Life Watersports will host a display showcasing a variety of watersports toys and charter yacht accessories.

“We will have the newest Sublue Seascooters, Bote Boards, Lift E-Foils as well as the ZUP Board, which is making a big splash on the Crewed Charter Yachts. Our Infanta Boat will be making an appearance to show you what we have to offer for the speed enthusiasts,” says Nick Fusco, sales and service manager at Island Life Watersports.

The USVI Charter Yacht Show is a must-attend not only for the maximized time and opportunities for charter brokers and crews to meet and greet but also for providing the latest updates on the industry and destination. On Nov. 10, the Marine Expo hosts over 35 marine vendors and offers seminars including a USCG and CBP Update from 5:15-5:45 p.m. and a talk on VI Wrecks and Corals from 6-6:30 p.m. Both will be held in the VIYA Wi-Fi Lounge.

Here too, on Nov. 12, there will be a seminar on Coral Watch, Species and Trends from 4:15-4:45 p.m., VI National Park Turtles from 4:45-5:15 p.m., and VI History, a Captain’s Perspective, 5:15-5:45 p.m. On Nov. 12 and Nov. 13, from 12:30-1 p.m., there will be a seminar titled, Future Demand: Adapting for the NextGen of Yacht Charterers in Indigo 4.

Finally, the show wraps up on Nov. 14 with a half-day of yachts open for view. Charter brokers also have a choice of two destination-immersing experiences. The first is a half-day (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) FAM trip sail to Brewers Bay.

“Charter brokers can enjoy a genuine charter experience with brunch served onboard in an idyllic USVI bay. Transport offered from the dock is just a few minutes’ drive from the airport in time for brokers to make a safe journey home fresh from their sail,” says Oriel Blake, VIPCA’s executive director. “Charter brokers can also join an hour-long historic tour of Charlotte Amalie, led by a professional guide. This is a wonderful introduction to the magnificent buildings and their fascinating history.”

Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association

A full capacity of over 70 yachts ranging in size from 42’ to over 105’, both power and sail, multihulls, and monohulls, will be on display at Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas for the show. One of these is Qara, an 84’ Horizon power yacht, which offers a one-of-a-kind niche in the fleet.

“Qara is one of the only full-time charter vessels of her size based in St. Croix, offering a unique charter experience throughout the USVI and BVI,” said Morgan Donovan, chief stewardess. “Qara’s shallow draft and advanced stabilization system allow her to anchor in locations that many vessels cannot, bringing guests a more intimate experience. Her 27.5’ Sea Hunt tender, TT Qara, is equipped with twin 200hp Yamahas, a GPS chart plotter, and a state-of-the-art fish finder perfect for light tackle and offshore fishing charters. Guests who prefer swimming with fish over catching them can zip around the reefs with our Yamaha Sea Scooters and Scubapro gear.”

Register Now!

Yachts can register at usviyachtshow.org/register/ with slip space available on a first-come, first-served basis, but already with a waiting list.

Brokers can also register at www.usviyachtshow.org/register/

The show is open for registration by all yacht charter brokers and marine vendors, both members and non-members, but is free for Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association members to attend. Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association membership offers additional year-round benefits including advertising opportunities and the latest industry updates, plus supports the association’s year-round work.

Yacht show attendees can receive a discounted rate of $244 per night on accommodations at Bluebeard’s Castle by booking by phone and giving the discount code ‘VIPCA Yacht Show’. A daily shuttle service will offer easy access to and from the marina.

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