It’s been an exemplar for the Caribbean in the post-Covid tourism world, and the US Virgin Islands continues to see outstanding tourism performance.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The US Virgin Islands has actually seen the highest increase in visitors from 2019 to 2022 of any destination in the Caribbean, according to global hospitality consulting firm HVS.
The data was shared by Parr’s Jodan, chairman of the HVS’s CHICOS investment conference, which was held this past week in the Dominican Republic.
The US Virgin Islands has seen a 31.6 percent increase in visitors since September 2019, the highest rate of any destination.
Puerto Rico was the next-highest, with an 11.5 percent growth rate, followed by the Dominican Republic at 8.1 percent and Curacao at 2.7 percent.
Aruba, for example, is down 3.8 percent since September 2019, while Trinidad is down 47 percent in the same period.
The US Virgin Islands is far outpacing the Caribbean at large, which has seen tourism down 16.7 percent overall since September 2019 (That is changing lately, however, with many destinations in the region starting to eclipse their 2019 totals).
The US Virgin Islands, which has seen a wave of new airlift to the destination since the onset of the pandemic, is also set for a major boost in 2023 with the entry of two new Marriott resorts in St Thomas: the Westin Beach Resort and Spa and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
“The USVI Department of Tourism is working hard to support local businesses and new investors,” said US Virgin Islands Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, who led a USVI delegation to CHICOS this week. “As part of our ongoing efforts and assistance with tax incentives, financing and brand awareness, we expect to see continued interest and growth in our islands in 2023.”
The USVI’s growth is a testament to its nimble approach to entry protocols during the height of the pandemic, and a continued push to promote both stayover and cruise passengers visits to the territory.