US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

CMI: Attention business to consumer members, don’t forget to submit your information to be displayed on the consumer website! A featured listing on the consumer site is included in your membership fees, so take advantage of this incredible opportunity for exposure! Click here to fill out the form and display your information today!

Membership Committee: The Cyril E. King Airport has relocated our booth until Oct. as all of the booths in the baggage claim area undergo renovations. We currently have front line exposure to the thousands of arriving passengers who pass through the baggage claim area daily.

The Airport Reservation Center is continuously used by visitors seeking information for services on St. Thomas and St. John. This is an excellent marketing tool for your business to ensure that our visitors are made aware of the kind of services you provide.

The airport booth is currently offering brochure rack space to display your company’s brochures for a monthly service fee of $45, billed to your business on a quarterly basis. The Airport Reservation Center is stacked twice daily (morning and evening) to ensure that you brochures are displayed when traffic is passing. Click here to download the application.

My Brother’s Workshop assisted USVIHTA with the new booth location, building and installing new racks. Please consider this incredible organization for your future wood and metal work needs! E-mail Jenny Hawkes for more information.

Advocacy Committee: USVIHTA President Lisa Hamilton submitted a testimony to the Committee on Workforce Development, Consumer Affairs and Culture in June in support of Bill No. 32-0099, “a Resolution honoring and commending Nels Hawkinson for founding the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands and exposing the territory to millions of Americans throughout the United States and the Caribbean.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam under Basketball Travelers, Inc. has brought men’s and women’s college basketball teams to the territory each Nov. for an early season competition since 2000. During the first year, the tournament was held at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School. Exponential growth and popularity brought the tournament to the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center in 2001.

The tremendous growth of this event in that last 17 years has been extremely lucrative and beneficial to the territory. According to the Paradise Jam website, the two-week tournament with 16 participating teams brings an estimated 1,500 people to St. Thomas. These sports tourists represent a key demographic outside of the typical USVI visitors. The economic boost created by capturing this demographic directly benefits hotels, restaurants, transportation services, stores, activities and attractions in the territory.

Likewise, the exposure created through media coverage of the event is invaluable. In addition to national televised coverage, streaming services are available for tournaments. Hawkinson’s brainchild not only brings the territory to the national spotlight, but presents the ease of visiting America’s Paradise to potential visitors online.

While the economic advantages of Hawkinson’s work are evident, his extraordinary commitment to the community is paramount. The organization donated the former UVI basketball court to Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School after installing a new one. Additionally, they created the U.S. Virgin Islands Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 to honor residents in the territory who have excelled in basketball locally and beyond.

Moreover, education and youth involvement are a significant focus during the tournament. Tournament staff administer basketball clinics for local youth, high school students work as junior staff members for the tournament, and other youth participate in steel pan bands, school bands and dance performances during half-time shows. Through this participation, youth learn valuable skills about service, sales, hospitality, media relations and more.

USVIHTA has had the honor of sponsoring the tournament in the past, and we support the community and economic value of this annual event and the proposal to recognize Hawkinson. He has worked tirelessly to create a legacy in the USVI that will continue to benefit the territory and create new tourism opportunities for years to come.

Environmental Committee: Blue Flag national reviews took place on June 27 for St. Croix and June 28 for St. Thomas, and applications were submitted July 1. The Foundation for Environmental Education will identify spot checks and properties will be notified.

We are also working on Blue Flag for sustainable boats. It is focused on sharks and whale watching internationally. Our charter boats are interested, so we are piloting a program for FEE to flesh out criteria for this industry. This will include everything from recycling to rules for snorkeling, diving, fishing and more.

Julie Printy with Palms at Pelican Cove is working with SEE for an endangered lizard study. She is offering free rooms for the study and the hotel will offer presentations for the guests.

Valerie Peters is volunteering with TeraCycle to assist with moving waste off island. This company ships waste at no cost. They did a test run with the Vessup cleanup and collected four large trash bags. The trash does, however, need to be picked up off the ground. The TeraCycle project is moving forward, but is not shipping until end of Sept., so we are currently seeking storage for plastics. We plan to implement the program on all three islands.

Additionally, Lisa Hamilton attended a full day workshop for the Governor’s Recycling Task Force on June 27. More to come!

Lastly, the committee encourages our members to attend as Kitty Edwards screens the documentary Chasing Coral on July 14, 15 and 16 on St. Thomas and St. Croix.