US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Education and Training Committee: The Education and Training Fund was established more than 20 years ago by the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association and supports our annual scholarship program. In 2014, the scholarship was posthumously named in honor of Lorette Resch, honorary member on the Board of Directors and generous scholarship contributor.

Since its creation, the fund has provided financial assistance to local students seeking degrees at the University of the Virgin Islands, majoring in Business Administration or Management with a concentration in Hotel Management or Marketing. We are pleased that a hotel and tourism management program has been specifically designed to focus on key areas of the hospitality industry. We have also extended the scholarship to students who plan to attend USVIHTA approved hospitality schools.

Click here to learn more about the program, or click here to download the scholarship application. Please help us to share the application with students you know who are interested in pursuing a higher education in hospitality. Applications are due by May 6.

Tommy Gala Committee: The Tommy Gala Committee released a request for a proposal to members and the community to find a video production company for the 15th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala on Dec. 3 at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. The chosen company will record interviews with each nominee as well as the Award of Excellence recipient, and will manage production at the event on Dec. 3. If you are interested, or if you know of a company outside of our membership that would like to participate, please review the RFP and contact Nyka Jn-Baptiste at The deadline is May 10.

Advocacy Committee: USVIHTA Supports CHTA Efforts to Regularize Growing Online Vacation Home Rental Industry

USVIHTA is applauding the region’s leading umbrella tourism private sector organization, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, and its efforts to find solutions to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid rise of the online vacation home rental industry and other sharing economy businesses being fueled by hosting platform companies like Airbnb and Uber. CHTA has released a resource guide to support the U.S. Virgin Islands’ local efforts to create a level playing field through the taxation and regulation of the sector and its engagement in local public and private sector tourism development efforts.

“This is a timely and helpful document with broad implications for the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean in general.  We are fully supportive of the need to create a level playing field and look forward to working with the government to advance the recommendations provided by the CHTA report,” said Lisa Hamilton, president of USVIHTA.

The USVIHTA Advocacy Committee plans to partner with the private sector to implement some of the legislative recommendations. If you would like to become involved, please contact the USVIHTA office at 340-774-6835.

The Caribbean has seen explosive growth in the short-term vacation home rental business. Taking advantage of new technology platforms, many residential owners throughout the world are sharing in tourism revenues by providing accommodations through marketplaces or host platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway which have emerged as the industry’s top leaders.

“As many governments throughout the world have experienced, the sharing economy made possible by these hosting platforms is happening whether or not we choose to embrace it and it presents new opportunities for the industry as well,” said CHTA President Karolin Troubetzkoy. “This leaves us with two options: we can allow it to develop as an untaxed and under-regulated market and lose out on tremendous opportunities or we can bring all the players to the table to work out solutions to the benefit of all concerned parties,” added Troubetzkoy.

“CHTA has endeavored to take a positive, constructive and balanced approach to the guide, welcoming this rapidly developing accommodations sector but also calling for a fair play arrangement regarding taxation and some measure of standards beyond those applicable to residences. CHTA is not calling for there to be the same detailed and sometimes onerous regulatory requirements for hotels, but for a level of regulation beyond those which simply apply to residences. These are commercial enterprises regardless as to how one looks at it and the welfare of the guest and health, safety and reputation of the host property, the hosting platform, and the destination must be considered,” according to Troubetzkoy.

The guide provides the region’s public and private sector tourism stakeholders with a summary of the key issues surrounding the sharing economy, its impact on the tourism sector globally as well as regionally, and the opportunities presented by this emerging accommodations sector.

It offers solutions and new approaches for the Caribbean’s NHTAs and governments to consider when regulating and regularizing this emerging industry. And it sets the stage for engaging the emerging accommodations sector in organized public and private sector efforts to protect and grow the tourism industry.

CHTA is supporting local efforts to bring together public and private sector stakeholders to review their existing laws and regulations pertaining to taxes, health and safety requirements and other standards, incorporating the necessary changes for the sharing economy. Click here to read the complete release.

membership benefitsMembership and CMI Committees: Upgrade your USVIHTA Allied Membership Status Today!

Do you want to get the most out of your allied membership with USVIHTA? It’s time to review your business’s needs and consider upgrading today! We are excited to introduce our new membership dues structure which easily identifies all of the amazing benefits you receive at each tier of membership.

All of our members receive the same great base benefits you know and love, but as your business grows, shouldn’t your outreach to consumers and online grow as well?  Being a USVIHTA member opens countless doors for your business. By upgrading your membership, you can continue to open doors on new opportunities by increasing your web presence.

Our internet presence and outreach has grown tremendously from 2014 to 2015. In that time, our website traffic sessions increased by 357 percent, with page views increasing by 319 percent. Our organic search engine traffic also grew exponentially, increasing over 1000 percent on Google. Additionally, total Jack Rabbit referrals increased by nearly 30,000.

The statistics speak for themselves, and this year is no exception. We continue to experience consistent growth, and we want you to be a part of it! Click here to learn more about membership dues and how your business can benefit from increased exposure! To download applications, click the links below:

Environmental Committee: Coral World Ocean Park, Blue Flag USVI, the Virgin Islands Conservation Society – Smith Bay Watershed Project, the Smith Bay Community Action Foundation and community volunteers joined forces in an Earth Day event and clean up at Coki Point and Water Bay on April 23. This year’s theme was “Trees for the Earth,” focusing on the importance of vegetation in watershed management and conservation. Educating the community about how our activities on land directly affect water quality in the sea around us is one way we can help to improve water quality and preserve our marine-based tourism economy. Thank you to those who participated and helped preserve the natural beauty of our home!