US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp and Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty reported that the cruise company will be the first to return to St. Thomas following back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes that impacted the territory last month.
The news follows last week’s visit by Royal Caribbean executives to meet with the territory’s public and private sector stakeholders and see firsthand the island’s port facilities, infrastructure, shopping areas and attractions.
“As we move forward from September’s historic storms, we are laser-focused on improving and enhancing the overall tourism product, and creating an environment that stimulates economic growth and employment for our residents,” commented Mapp as he thanked the executive team at Royal Caribbean for its confidence in the Government and people of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The line, which operated two mercy missions to the territory to assist with the evacuation of affected visitors and residents and to bring much needed humanitarian supplies, has been providing significant resources to help with the restoration of world-famous Magens Bay – one of St. Thomas’ popular beaches. The cleanup effort is being made possible with the support of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Works, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority, the Virgin Islands National Guard and several private sector organizations.
“We are very excited to get back home to our friends in St. Thomas. The Caribbean is our family, having cruised there for nearly 50 years, and the long-standing relationships created in all this time are unwavering,” said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO. “We are committed to doing everything we can to help, and proud to support the restoration of the iconic Magens Bay.”
“Welcoming cruise visitors back to the U.S. Virgin Islands is key to our economic recovery,” Nicholson-Doty underscored, disclosing that cruise guests represent a significant share of overall visitors, supporting jobs both within and outside the tourism sector. The commissioner said preparations for Royal Caribbean’s arrival were ongoing and additional meetings with the business community were being planned.