US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

bf-logoEnvironmental Committee: Four Beaches and Two Marinas Once Again Receive the Prestigious Blue Flag Certification

The USVI Hotel & Tourism Association along with the VI Conservation Society are pleased to announce that, after the extensive annual review process, four beaches and two marinas have once again been awarded Blue Flag status by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

The four beaches receiving this coveted certification are Emerald Beach and Great Bay on St. Thomas, and Green Cay Beach at Tamarind Reef and the Palms at Pelican Cove on St. Croix. The two marinas that received certification and reached their five year milestone are Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas and Green Cay Marina on St. Croix. The Blue Flag certification is based on compliance with 32 criteria including environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.

Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label promoting sustainable tourism and awarded to beaches and marinas worldwide who meet the established criteria of the program. It started with ten participating countries in 1987. Today, the Blue Flag program continues to grow and has been implemented in 48 countries at more than 4,000 beaches and marinas across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.

Blue Flag International is proud to announce the launch of its certification for sustainable boating tourism operators. “We have worked several years on new criteria for sustainable boating tourism operators, with experts and key stakeholders. Diving, whale watching, nature watching, recreational fishing… any type of sustainable boating activity can begin the process of certification with us.” We encourage the boating community to promote sustainable practices and recognize them for their efforts in spreading the word

The Blue Flag Program aims at improving the environmental quality of beaches and marinas and the management of coastal areas in a holistic way. It is a system that does not curtail recreation and tourism in the coastal area, but rather helps manage it through a wide range of subjects, activities and users that have direct and indirect interactions with the coastal environment. The Blue Flag program serves to encourage authorities and managers to provide beaches and marinas with a certain level of environmental quality, cleanliness and safety standards for local populations and tourists.

The process of acquiring Blue Flag certification involves both monetary and manpower investment.  Corporate sponsors the Department of Tourism and Coral World Ocean Park were generous to contribute to this effort. Key agencies including the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (CZM, EP), CORE, Department of Tourism, VI Waste Management Authority, the Nature Conservancy, Department of Education, St. Croix Environmental Association, NOAA, University of the Virgin Islands – VIMAS, and the EPA, Department of Energy, provided the staffing to serve on the Blue Flag Jury who conducted inspections of the beaches.

According Valerie Peters, Blue Flag USVI coordinator; “We strive to educate recreational coastal users of the delicate ecosystem they are ‘playing in,’ and encourage sound practices that will help ensure the health of our marine areas for generations to come.”

The flags will be raised on all four beaches and two marinas on Dec. 1. We encourage residents and visitors to join us in recognizing these locations for their hard work and dedication to implement sound environmentally sustainable tourism practices. For additional information, visit

Tommy GalaTommy Gala Committee: The most exciting red carpet event of 2016 is just around the corner! The 15th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala will be held Nov. 5 at the Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. The event highlights those individuals in the tourism and hospitality industry who go above and beyond to make guest experiences exceptional. The dedication, talent and creativity of these employees is essential to the success of the local tourism industry, and we are honored to recognize their hard work. Nominees have been submitted for the following categories, and we cannot wait to see who comes out on top: Attraction/Activity Associate of the Year; Hospitality Support Service Associate of the Year; Public Service Representative of the Year (Government); Restaurant Associate of the Year; Retail Associate of the Year; Transportation Associate of the Year; Hotel Supervisor of the Year; and Hotel Associate of the Year.

Additionally, a Tommy Star Award of Excellence is presented to a Virgin Islander who has made a significant contribution to the success of our tourism industry. This year’s honoree is Bolongo Bay Beach Resort Managing Director and U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association Board of Directors member Richard Doumeng.

We hope you will join us Nov. 5 in supporting your coworkers, employees and fellow industry stakeholders. To purchase tickets, please call the association office at 340-774-6835.

And don’t forget to sign up to be a sponsor! Levels of sponsorship are as follows:

Tommy Star $5,000

  • Full page color ad in the event booklet
  • Recognition in all event advertising
  • Recognition from the podium
  • Table for ten at the event with priority seating
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation
  • Signage

Tommy Gold $2,500

  • Half page ad in the event booklet
  • Recognition in all event promotion
  • Recognition from the podium
  • Five tickets to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

Tommy Silver $1,000

  • Quarter page ad in the event booklet
  • Two tickets to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

Tommy Bronze $500

  • 1/8 page ad in the event booklet (business card size)
  • One ticket to the event
  • Sponsorship noted on video rotation

To become a sponsor of this esteemed event, click here to download the Sponsorship Agreement form and return via fax to 340-774-4993 by Oct. 7. If you have any questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact the association’s office at 340-774-6835.