USVI Looking to Take Cruise Industry to Next Level

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By Alexander Britell

The US Virgin Islands is already one of the Caribbean’s biggest cruise powers — but new Governor Albert Bryan Jr wants to take things to the next level.

The USVI is determined to position itself as the number one cruise destination in the Caribbean.

“As we build this new Virgin Islands product and we recover from two hurricanes, our main push is to make St. Thomas the premier port in the Virgin Islands, to solidify an identity for St. Croix, whether it’s in Christiansted with our small cruise ship industry or in Frederiksted with the expansion of our port and what we are doing in (the) town,” he said on the heels of the Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami Beach.

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Downtown Frederiksted in St Croix.

Bryan said positioning the USVI as the premier destination in the region would require “continued investment in the territory’s infrastructure and its people.”

It was also important for locals to “understand the importance of tourism,” he said, cautioning that the industry’s continued contribution to GDP was dependent on “high levels of customer service.”

Bryan said the USVI was also examining the addition of new ports of call to the USVI’s harbors.

Bryan was joined on the trip by Tourism Commissioner Designee Joe Boschulte, the chairman of the West Indian Company Limited and a board member of the Virgin Islands Port Authority.

Boschulte held serveral meetings with cruise ship executives on plans to upgrade the USVI’s ports and enhance the experience for visitors.

“The cruise industry is vital to the U.S. Virgin Islands’ economy and our future as a tourism destination,” Boschulte said. “Our attendance at Seatrade has increased cruise interest in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and we look forward to positive developments in the future.”