A tropical home-from-home is how the US Virgin Islands would like meeting planners to imagine their destination.
The United States Virgin Islands commissioner of tourism, Beverly Nicholson Doty, was in Fort Lauderdale last week to promote the destination to meeting planners in Florida.
“These are your islands in the Caribbean,” was the key message that Doty had for attendees at the event. “They are exotic, but familiar and safe; and you don’t need a passport to come to the USVI if you are a US citizen, which makes it easy for individuals qualifying for incentives to visit the island. There’s also an abundance of flights directly from the South Florida area into the USVI and from throughout the US, as well as great hotels and good infrastructure for groups and incentives provided by our destination planners in the territory.”
Three islands, One Destination
The three islands that make up the USVI each have something different to offer. From quiet St. Croix where groups can tour historic downtown Christiansted and its colonial buildings and forts, to bustling–but not too bustling–St. Thomas where they can taste the flavor of the islands on a food tour, to serene St. John where 60 percent of its land mass is comprised of pristine national park.
Hotel options range from well-known upscale options such as The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, and Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, to more off-the-beaten path offerings such as Sugar Bay, The Buccaneer and Bolongo Bay Beach Resort. All-inclusive properties are available, but Doty emphasized that the destination itself is the unique selling point of the islands and groups are encouraged to get off property and explore beyond their hotel.
Experience the Islands
Historic venues such as Fort Christian or the St. Peter Greathouse in Charlotte Amalie can be booked for events, and excursions to Buck Island or Hassel Island provide a range of activities for groups. Doty emphasized that planners should always speak to the team at Visit USVI if they are trying to close some business, before considering another Caribbean island, as they will be happy to work with you.
“Most importantly, we believe that your groups will have an experience in the USVI. We don’t just want them to come to a hotel, we want them to come to our destination – enjoy our people, enjoy our food, and leave with beautiful memories,” said Doty. “They may visit for group incentive travel, but we want them to be no stranger to the Virgin Islands and come back again and again – whether it is on their own, or with another group, or with their family and friends.”