U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism Surges 50% Over Last Year
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas will reopen next month.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is reporting close to a 50% increase in stayover arrivals this year, a clear signal that tourism in the territory is on a strong rebound following the historic storms of 2017.
According to the U.S. Virgin Islands Bureau of Economic Research, the territory welcomed 347,725 stayover arrivals on St. Thomas, about a 70% increase over 2018, while St. Croix has seen an increase of 5.2%, with 117,203 arrivals from JAN to AUG this year.
USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte welcomed the news as the destination prepares for the post-hurricane reopening of some of its larger resorts.
"We will soon emerge with one of the newer complements of hotels and resorts in the Caribbean, beginning with The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, whose opening date has been moved up from December 1 to November 22 this year," he said.
With the planned opening of Frenchman's Reef Marriott Resort & Spa, and Noni Beach part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, along with Renaissance Carambola and Divi Carina Bay on St. Croix in 2020, the Commissioner says he is confident that the U.S. Virgin Islands will build continuing interest from developers.
"This represents encouraging news for our major economic engine," he said.
He reported that winter season air capacity to St. Croix is ahead of 2017 pre-storm levels, while seat capacity to St. Thomas is projected to approach 90% of the pre-storm levels.
As additional accommodations inventory comes back online in 2019-20, St. Thomas should move closer to its full pre-storm capacity, he asserted.
"As we move past the recovery phase, we are beginning to witness a renaissance in the Virgin Islands' tourism product, and eagerly look forward to a bright future for our industry," Commissioner Boschulte concluded.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.