St Thomas, St Croix Seeing Strong Cruise Growth
Both St Thomas and St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands are seeing continued cruise growth, according to new data from the USVI Department of Tourism.
St Thomas received more than 1.6 million cruise passengers through its two ports last year, with an additional 200,000 cruise passengers anticipated this year.
St Croix, itself one of the fastest-growing cruise ports in the Caribbean, had 100,000 passengers arrive last year with a projected increase of 80 percent in 2023.
Almost all of the major cruise lines sailing to the Caribbean have resumed docking in St Thomas — meaning an anticipated increase of nearly 650,000 new travelers in 2023.
The data were shared during the recent Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Fort Lauderdale, which included a delegation from the USVI Department of Tourism led by USVI Governor Albert Bryan and Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte, who participated in the keynote panel on the State of Global Tourism.
“During the pandemic in June 2020, the Governor and the health team opened our borders and invited guests back, so the USVI experienced strong overnight hotel stays at that time,” Boschulte said. “However, one of the biggest differences was not having the cruise ships which had been the anchor for our tourism economy for decades. Now, we are happy to report that the cruise business is back, and passenger volume is expected to reach pre-Covid 2019 levels by the end of this year.”
Over the four-day event, members representing the Department of Tourism and the Virgin Islands Port Authority meet with key representatives from the cruise industry, vendors, and media.
Tourism makes up 60 percent of the GDP of the USVI Boschulte said.
“Its impact on the entire economy is enormous,” he said.