US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

Tommy Gala Committee: The USVI Hotel and Tourism Association is excited to invite you to join us on Nov. 14 for the 14th Annual Tommy Star Awards and Gala! Each year, an exclusive Tommy Star Award of Excellence is presented to a Virgin Islander who has made a significant contribution to the success of our tourism industry. We wish to congratulate Dr. David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands, and recipient of the Tommy Star Award of Excellence. Dr. Hall has taken tremendous strides for higher education and has been an integral part of UVI’s Hospitality Degree Program. His work has allowed the association and its members to become involved in educating the future leaders of tourism through internships and lectures.

“I was motivated to help create the program because it was clearly something that needed to be done to fulfill a great need,” Hall said. “Students from the Virgin Islands should be trained effectively so that they can become the future leaders of this industry. Without this type of intervention then Virgin Islanders will not feel as if they are fully engaged in an industry that is so essential to the economy of the Virgin Islands.”

Hall was born in Savannah, Ga and attended public segregated schools until he graduated. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship at Kansas State University where he majored in political science and eventually received a law degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Law. Hall practiced law with the Federal Trade Commission in Chicago before becoming a law professor. He taught law at the University of Mississippi, the University of Oklahoma and Northeastern University. He then served as Dean of the Law School and Provost of Northeastern University. Hall is currently in his seventh year as President of the University of the Virgin Islands.

Nine additional awards will be given to hospitality and tourism employees who demonstrate an unwavering dedication to tourism and strive to make each guest experience unique and memorable. Winners will be announced at the gala in the following categories: Airline Associate of the Year; 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; Taxi Operator of the Year; Hotel Supervisor of the Year; and Hotel Associate of the Year.

Who else do you want to see at the Tommy Star Awards and Gala? Learn about former winners and see what it takes to be a Tommy Star with our Tommy Star Spotlights!

If you have any would like to purchase tickets or require additional information, please feel free to contact the association’s office at 340-774-6835.

RF flyerEnvironmental Committee: The Environmental Committee met in Oct., heavily discussing educational opportunities and community outreach. The committee is focusing on environmental education by working with the schools. Through VIMAS and DOE, schools have been challenged to adopt a beach. The schools that do the best job will receive funds donated during Reef Fest.

Launching Eco-Schools is the committee’s next FEE initiative. VICS has an affiliate relationship with NWF. It offers a certification for schools to encourage environmental education. Schools will set up a committee and an audit, then choose three out of ten different areas of focus to implement.

Additionally, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service of the University of the Virgin Islands in association with Blue Flag USVI – Virgin Islands Conservation Society and the Reef Fest organizers are excited to invite you to join us for Reef Fest 2015 Nov. 7 at Coral World Ocean Park from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. We are hoping you will not only choose to attend the free event, but sign up to sponsor the festival.

Over the last decade, the UVI’s Center for Marine and Environmental Studies and federal and local partners, through high quality scientific research, have documented losses of over half of the live coral reef habitat around the territory. This unprecedented decline could adversely affect the invaluable ecological services corals provide in shoreline stability, water quality, nutrient recycling, and habitat for fish and related organisms.

Our thriving tourism industry intimately depends on the health of the marine environment, clarity of the ocean waters and gorgeous beaches. Divers, snorkelers, boaters, beach goers, sailors and fishers repeatedly choose the Virgin Islands as their vacation destination, securing our multimillion dollar industry.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Status of the Reef Report 2008 asserts that without significant improvement in management efforts to reduce land-based sources of pollution and increasing awareness of the fragility of the coral reef ecosystems, these corals will continue to be impacted by coral disease, bleaching and climate change. Educating the community about the value of the marine resources and the relationship between our activities on land and the sea is one way we can help reverse the decline in our coral reefs while preserving our marine based tourism economy.

The goal of St. Thomas Reef Fest is to empower communities to protect their reefs and convey the importance of the marine resources. To this end, a diverse array of activities is being organized to ensure success in meeting our goals: to raise awareness of coral reef values, promote environmental stewardship and strengthen natural resource management and conservation.

St. Thomas Reef Fest activities, facilitated by NGO’s, Government agencies, private businesses, volunteers and members of VINE, include:

  • Complimentary admission to Coral World Ocean Park – Explore five acres with exotic aquariums, outdoor pools, Undersea Observatory and nature trails.
  • Interactive presentations at various exhibits throughout the park
  • Interactive marine educational games and activities: Snorkel Clinics, Build a Castle, Scavenger Hunt,
  • Expert local speakers in natural resource science and management;
  • Environmental exhibits and activity booths from various government and community organizations, and displays by local agencies and programs;
  • Local “green” vendors of both food and retail
  • Composting Demo
  • Live musical performances by local professionals and student artists, youth dance groups and “Reef Rap” Contest

On behalf of the Reef Fest organizers, we humbly request your participation. Your organization is welcome to join us by providing donations of goods and services, or prizes for games and activities; equipment loan or monetary donation to support supplies and giveaways; volunteer time; talent; and anything you are willing to contribute to make this a truly fun community-based event.

Your participation will be promoted and acknowledged within all Reef Fest correspondence, radio announcements, Facebook and newspaper advertisements as a partner in Reef Fest. Any donations or proceeds raised at Reef Fest will go to environmental community outreach and education programs for the USVI territory.

We hope you consider assisting us in this important community sponsored event. Please contact Valerie Peters at for a sponsorship form.

And we also hope to see you at Coral World on Nov. 7 for Reef Fest. Call 340-693-1672 or visit for more information. Thank you for supporting the conservation of our marine environment.

VI Coupons AdMembership Committee: We hope members will join us on Dec. 2 at 5:30 p.m. in Frenchtown for our Membership Mixer. We will be enjoying light food and beverages while members have an opportunity to network and chat. Call the USVIHTA office at 340-774-6835 if you have any questions.

We would like to remind members of our partnership with iVeew, Inc., a leading provider of mobile solutions to the travel and hospitality industry, led by Tom Griffin, a long-time supporter of the Virgin Islands. Griffin has offered an opportunity for us to be one of the first major island destinations to provide our visitors with the ability to utilize their Smartphones to connect your business.

We were able to negotiate a lower sign up rate from the normal $500/year and $.25 cents per download coupon to $200/year and $.10 cents per download coupon. In addition, we capped the $.10 cents per download to a maximum spend of $200.00 per month.

Current advertisers in the airport booth will have the first opportunity to participate. For more information, please contact Tom Griffin at or Shamari Skelton at To speak to someone right away or participate, contact Nicole Friday at the HTA office at Click here and here for additional information.

CMI: The CMI Committee met in Oct. to discuss updates. We have proposed tentative dates for Destination Symposium 2016 and are waiting to confirm with the venue. The HCP ads have been finalized and are in circulation. We are also very excited about the upcoming tradeshows for the NY Times and Boston Global. Contact Nyka at if you are interested in participating. Additionally, the Department of Tourism gave an update on their current and upcoming projects, including promotions and public relations outreach.