C'BEAN MARKETPLACE: US Virgin Islands hotels target 2019 rebound after hurricane setbacks
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico:
Still recovering from hurricanes Irma and Maria, the United States Virgin Islands, says its hotel stocks will not come back on stream until 2019.
In the meantime, some hotel workers have been displaced, but have found employment in the massive construction business as the various resorts rebuild from scratch and while others are upgrading, the islands’ Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty said.
According to her, the cruise lines returned to the island fewer than six weeks after the devastation caused by the storm.
Nicholson-Doty was speaking at the 36th Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace 2018, on at the Puerto Rico Convention Centre in San Juan.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace is the most important tourism marketing event held in the region annually.
Pointing out the importance of volunteerism, Nicholson-Doty said volunteers have been coming from all over the world helping with the restoration of the territory.
It will however, take the hotels a while, “Because no one is just rebuilding, they are hardening the infrastructure and upgrading the product”.
The tourism official noted that several of the hotel operators are making sure that their properties are more resilient.
Thirty per cent of the USVI’s GDP comes from tourism, with the islands', which comprise St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, indirectly receiving approximately US$2 billion from the industry annually.
The country gets the rest of its 70 per cent from the huge financial sector and the exportation of their Captain Morgan and Cruz rums.
"As we look to 2019, we see that the meetings and incentive markets have great potential," the tourism commissioner stated.