Newsletters

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (DOT) created The USVI Times e-newsletter in June 2007 to help support our local tourism industry partners and keep you informed about DOT activities.

May 2013

DOT Seeks Candidates for New Internship Program based in New York

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism is seeking applicants for its inaugural summer and fall internship program in New York. Co-sponsored with the DOT’s U.S.-based public relations agency of record, Development Counsellors International (DCI), the program seeks to provide vibrant young Virgin Islanders with an interest and background in communications/marketing with the opportunity to develop the skills and experience necessary to promote the USVI internationally.

“To remain competitive in the tourism industry, it’s important that the young talent we recruit gain work experience in a fast-paced, dynamic city like New York, where a significant amount of our creative and strategic marketing strategy is implemented,” said Commissioner Nicholson-Doty. “The DOT has long been committed to developing local marketing talent through the internship programs we run out of the St. Thomas and St. Croix offices. We are excited to now offer an opportunity overseas.”

Qualified candidates will be Virgin Islands residents who are recent graduates of or in their final year of study at an accredited undergraduate or graduate university program with a major in marketing, mass communications, public relations or tourism studies. Candidates will possess sound written and verbal communication skills, exceptional organizational skills and have an eye for detail. Strong candidates will have a proven ability to adapt to new conditions, assignments and deadlines as they arise, and generally exude a positive, “go-getter” attitude. They will also be able to illustrate their deep knowledge of and passion for USVI culture and heritage.

The chosen candidates will receive round-trip air to New York City with a monthly stipend of up to $2,500 to cover housing, transportation and other living expenses. The summer intern will support the USVI account team at DCI’s New York office on a full-time basis for three months (June – August 2013), and the fall intern from September to November 2013. Daily tasks will include, but will not be limited to media pitching, assisting with event planning, drafting and editing client documents, liaising with the DOT’s on-island tourism partners, conducting travel industry and/or consumer behavior research and developing content for the DOT’s social media channels.

Andrew Levine, President and Chief Creative Officer of DCI said, “We take great pride in our work with the United States Virgin Islands. We’re now excited to expand our partnership with the Department of Tourism via an expansion of our internship program. We’ve had a significant number of junior-level staff members grow with us over the past several years. In fact, more than 25 percent of our current staff is comprised of former interns.”

National Tourism Week Draws Hundreds of VI Participants

Hundreds of Virgin Islanders turned out earlier in the month to a series of events organized by the USVI Department of Tourism (DOT) in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. Themed “Let’s Clean Up Our Act!”, the week’s activities addressed two key areas of critical importance to both residents and visitors: island cleanliness and customer service.
To kick off the week, the Department of Tourism coordinated a territory-wide clean up on Saturday, May 4 which drew more than 250 volunteers. The volunteers collected a total of 516 bags of garbage from 13 locations on St. Croix, St. John and St. Croix. In addition, many larger refuse items were also recovered including car parts, household appliances, furniture and boating equipment.

“I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who participated in the clean up and gave of their time to perform community service,” said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “Their participation confirms the strong pride that lives within our community and serves as an example to others that we each can make a contribution to the betterment of our islands.”

The Department extends special thanks to the partner agencies that assisted in the clean up including the Department of Public Works, VI Waste Management Authority, VI Police Department, Department of Agriculture, VI Water & Power Authority, Fire Services and the Office of the Governor. In addition, the DOT thanks St. John Hardware and The Sea Chest on St. Thomas for contributing a portion of the clean up supplies.

In keeping with the theme of “cleaning up our act”, the DOT held 12 free customer service workshops May 7-10 throughout the Territory. More than 450 people attended the workshops including public and private sector employees as well as high school students. Special sessions were held for airport personnel, taxi operators and for students. The workshops were conducted by professional service trainer and Virgin Islander, Dr. Bryan Williams.

“In today’s global marketplace, it’s important for Virgin Islanders to keep pace with world class service standards. Travelers have many choices, but we want to make sure they choose the U.S. Virgin Islands over and over again not just for the natural beauty here but also because of our welcoming hospitality,” said Nicholson-Doty.
Throughout the month of May the DOT is running public service announcements on local television promoting the customer service pledge, a commitment USVI employees and businesses can make to improve the level of service they provide their customers. To take the pledge, go to www.usviservicepledge.com.

May Press Visits

As the summer travel season draws closer, the Department of Tourism welcomes journalists and editors from near and far as they seek to entice their readers with stories of incredible cultural experiences and tropical escapes.

From May 20 – 24, SmarterTravel.com contributor Dara Continenza will tour St. John to gather content for a series of online features, including a photo gallery of her experiences on the island, a feature post about St. John’s underwater treasures, a round-up of the Caribbean’s best coves and beaches, a roundup of “National Parks You Didn’t Know Existed” and a how-to guide focused on “luxury for less.” SmarterTravel.com is the largest online travel website featuring travel news, tips, deals and other editorial content, which is often syndicated to major news sites such as Yahoo!, USAToday.com and the Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, Aprendiz de Vijante (Brazilian web-based travel magazine) editor Claudia Beatriz Saleh, will pay the Territory a post-Memorial Day Weekend visit to research romance, honeymoon, destination wedding and vow renewal resources on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas for the outlet’s September 2013 Caribbean issue. Not only will she share her finds via the magazine’s social media accounts, but she will also produce a six-page e-zine spread featuring the islands’ best hotels, attractions, restaurants and beaches for couples. With an expanding middle class and strong domestic economy, Brazilian tourists are increasingly in search of unique destinations for vacations. According to a recent journal by the US International Trade and Commission, the number of annual U.S arrivals from Brazil has increased by 292 percent between 2004 and 2011.

The USVI Takes Over Texas

Led by Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty and Deputy Commissioner, Chantal Figueroa, a Department of Tourism delegation descended upon the Lone Star State this month to show Texans why it’s time to embark on a “Grand Getaway” to the U.S. Virgin Islands. From May 13th to 19th, tourism representatives traveled through Houston and Dallas meeting with dozens of travel agents and meeting planners, updating them on new amenities and services available at local hotels, and recent restaurant and attraction openings. These meetings also gave DOT representatives the opportunity to learn about upcoming editorial opportunities in which the U.S. Virgin Islands might be included. A pit-stop at the CW39 Houston put the talents of Chef Theo Gumbs on display for Houstonians as he showed viewers at home how to prepare a signature VI dish – “pick-up saltfish”

The road show culminated on Saturday and Sunday May 18 and 19 when Carnival dancers, mocko jumbies a steel pan player and a larger-than-life replica of VI architecture, serving as an exhibition booth, took over the Stonebriar Center Mall in Frisco, Texas. Shoppers had an opportunity to enter for their chance to win a trip for two to the U.S. Virgin Islands while their kids participated in steel pan and dance lessons at the booth.

The entire promotional tour was centered around the “USVI Grand Getaway” deal, available for booking through June 15 for travel through September 30, 2013. Travelers who reserve the offer will receive more than $1,000 in total savings on hotel accommodations, shopping, dining, activities and attractions. In addition to plugging the offer at media meetings throughout the week and during the CW39 Houston cooking segment, radio spots promoting the USVI Grand Getaway promotion, available for all US residents, aired on 104.1 KRBE in Houston, and 96.3 KSCS New County and I93FM Today’s Hit Music in Dallas/Fort Worth throughout the week.