It’s been one of the greatest tourism success stories of the pandemic — and tourism continues to sizzle in the United States Virgin Islands.
Last year was a banner year for travel in the territory, according to new data released by the destination’s Department of Tourism.
Indeed, the USVI reported just under 740,000 air arrivals for the first 11 months of last year, a 102.5 percent increase over the same period — and, even more notably, a 30 percent jump over the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
USVI Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte said he was looking forward to receiving the final statistics for 2021, since preliminary data showed that December was a “particularly impressive month for the territory.”
The destination’s success was buoyed by its class-leading Travel Screening Portal, which registered more than 1 million submissions last year and, Boschulte said, “has been critical in protecting not only the lives of visitors and residents, but also the livelihoods of all Virgin Islanders.”
The territory continues to see strong airlift, with new routes from a wave of major cities across the mainland United States.
Boschulte thanked USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr for his “smart and sensible stewardship of the Territory throughout the pandemic,” along with cabinet colleagues like Commissioner of Health Justa Encarnacion.
“We must also give thanks to the dedicated team at the Department of Tourism who played a key role in our chalking up numerous accolades throughout the year,” said Commissioner Boschulte.
The strong performance comes as the USVI is set to welcome the debut of the highly-anticipated Divi Carina Bay Resort, a rebranded adults-only all-inclusive that officials say will boost interest in the USVI’s “Big Island.”
That’s along with the opening of the Lovango Resort and Beach Club on the private Lovango Cay near St John and the relaunch of the Concordia Eco-Resort in St John.
Later this year, the iconic Frenchman’s Reef Marriott will reopen in St Thomas, a long-awaited relaunch for one of the territory’s most popular hotels.