U.S. Virgin Islands Woo With Diversity

with Martha Chapman

Elaine & Brent Carnegie of Canlink

Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty

Canlink sales rep Charlie Agostino

It's easy to think you know the Caribbean when you've been to a dozen or so islands. But chances are you, like me, have been to the “mainstream" guys: Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Barbados…

And now the USVI are hoping you'll add their charming, little islands to that list – for both you and your clients.

Settled by the Danes in 1672 (who knew?) the USVI is an American territory comprising 3 main islands (St. Thomas, St. John & St. Croix) plus a sprinkling of smaller islands located east of Puerto Rico.

And while there aren't any ITC programs from Canada, there is very convenient service from many Eastern Seaboard American cities. In fact, commissioner of tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty told us, “I left my office yesterday evening after a full work day – and arrived here in Toronto late last night."

The 3 main islands offer distinct experiences: St. Croix (pronounced croy), the largest, offering a step back in time with its Whim Sugar Plantation Museum and other authentic historic and culinary options. St. Thomas is of course famed for its duty free shopping – it's the largest duty free port in the Caribbean – but art buffs will want to visit the exhibit on famed impressionist painter Camille Pissarro who was born here. And fully 2/3 of St.

John (population just 10,000) is national park where you can spend your days wandering from one deserted stretch of sand to another. “This is why the USVI are so great for island-hopping," Brent Carnegie of Canlink, the islands' Canadian rep told us. “Many holidays in one, and so close to each other."

Be sure to recommend the local Cruzan rum: manufactured by the same family for 400 years. Bet they know how to kick back and relax!

Wherever you send you clients, they are sure to enjoy the island social scene, hanging with the locals. “We have 3 times the fun and we carnival all year round!" Beverly told us. Wow – anyone who uses carnival as a verb surely knows how to have a good time!

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