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U.S. Virgin Islands’ Tourism Flourishes in 2023, Sets Sights on Global Expansion




As 2023 draws to a close, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (D.O.T.) celebrates a year marked by significant achievements under the guidance of Commissioner Joseph Boschulte. The territory has shown notable progress in key sectors, positioning itself for a promising future.

Robust Growth in Shared Economy

The year 2023 saw the U.S. Virgin Islands sustain its growth in the shared economy sector, generating an impressive $343.4 million in revenue. While this is a slight decrease from the previous year’s $360.53 million, it demonstrates the territory’s resilience. The hotel industry particularly shined, with an occupancy rate of 61.8% and average daily rates surpassing regional norms ($463.23 compared to $318.81 regionally). The Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) also consistently outperformed regional benchmarks.

Catalyst for Caribbean Tourism Surge

The territory has been instrumental in driving the Caribbean’s substantial tourism growth. International arrivals in the fourth quarter of 2023 are projected to be 39 percent higher than 2019 levels. The surge in extended stay visitors, increasing by 25, further highlights the territory’s appeal.

Optimistic Outlook for 2024

Despite previous challenges like pilot and airplane shortages in 2022, the forecast for 2024 is bright. The U.S. Virgin Islands has seen a significant increase in seat capacity from the continental U.S. to St. Croix (23%) and St. Thomas (21%), thanks to solid partnerships with major airlines.

Innovative Marketing and Sports Collaborations

The D.O.T. has broadened its marketing strategies, particularly in sports marketing. Collaborations with renowned teams and organizations, including the Boston Red Sox, New York Jets, Chicago Cubs, and Klutch Sports Group, alongside ambassadorships with athletes connected to the territory, have fueled a 21% increase in visitation from pre-Covid levels.

Cultural Vibrancy and Carnival Success

The past year was notable for the enriched experience of the territory’s Carnival celebrations. Increased participation and the expansion of Village Nights, celebrating local and Caribbean talent, have fostered cultural exchanges and attracted international attention.

Global Outreach and Market Expansion

The D.O.T. is actively pursuing re-engagement with international markets, with a special focus on Canada, Denmark, and Italy. Through integrated marketing and partnerships with global media, the U.S. Virgin Islands is being promoted as an ideal travel destination.

2024 Strategic Focus

Looking ahead to 2024, the U.S. Virgin Islands aims to enhance its profile in sports and entertainment, deepen cultural ties with the Caribbean diaspora, and expand in the marine and film industries. Key initiatives include:

  • Airlift Expansion: Initiating dialogues with airline executives to boost airlift from the U.S. mainland for winter 2024-25 and restoring international airline negotiations with Denmark, Italy, and Canada.
  • Cruise Industry Growth: Collaborating with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association to increase cruise visits, create new experiences, and foster local employment.
  • Marine Sector Development: Building stronger relationships with marine stakeholders and attracting marine businesses to establish in the USVI.
  • Film Industry Attraction: Promoting the USVI’s stunning landscapes and unique locations for film productions.

Accolades and Recognition

In 2023, the U.S. Virgin Islands and its Department of Tourism were honored with multiple awards, reinforcing their status as a premier travel destination.

A Premier Travel Destination

As the U.S. Virgin Islands reviews its successes and prepares for future ambitions, it remains a favored destination for travelers seeking natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality.

For more information about the U.S. Virgin Islands and its attractions, visit here.

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Virginia Couple Pursues Legal Action Against Emerald Beach Resort After Harrowing Encounter



A legal battle unfolds as a Virginia couple takes Emerald Beach Corporation to court, accusing the establishment of negligence and racial discrimination. The lawsuit, lodged in the Virgin Islands District Court, stems from a distressing episode where the plaintiffs were reportedly assaulted on the premises by an individual with a history of violence.

The case centers on Raekoi Evans, who, after an altercation on Lindbergh Bay Beach in April 2022 escalated into a violent encounter, was apprehended. Evans admitted to aggravated assault and battery in September 2023, receiving a suspended sentence of one year, followed by supervised probation, and was ordered to compensate the victims $3,182.25.

The lawsuit further implicates an Emerald Beach security guard and the resort itself, holding them accountable for the damages incurred during the incident. Court filings detail how the plaintiffs encountered Evans and the security guard in a heated exchange that quickly deteriorated, leading to a physical confrontation.

Despite efforts by the security to disperse the gathering, Evans allegedly persisted, later confronting the couple with a group that escalated the situation into violence. The aftermath saw the couple seeking refuge and assistance within the resort, claims of inadequate response from the staff have also surfaced, alleging a delayed action to their plight.

The narrative takes a critical turn, highlighting a post-assault interaction between the security guard and the assailants, suggesting a potential negligence in identifying or holding the other participants accountable. The plaintiffs argue that the resort’s reaction was influenced by their guest status, revealing a concerning layer of alleged discrimination based on racial assumptions.

Legal actions against Evans include charges of emotional distress, battery, and assault, reflecting the severity of his actions. The security guard faces accusations of negligence for not preemptively addressing the threats and allowing known agitators on the premises. The overarching claim against Emerald Beach Resort addresses a broader issue of negligence and alleged discriminatory practices, questioning the safety and inclusivity of its operations.

The legal proceedings aim to secure general and punitive damages, emphasizing the gravity of the allegations against Evans, the security guard, and Emerald Beach Resort. The defendants’ response to these serious accusations remains pending, as the case continues to develop.

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The U.S. Virgin Islands Seek Prestige at the World Travel Awards



The Department of Tourism of the U.S. Virgin Islands has jubilantly shared news of its nominations for the celebrated World Travel Awards, an initiative that honors the best in the global travel, tourism, and hospitality industries.

Celebrating its 31st anniversary, the World Travel Awards are renowned for spotlighting the premier destinations and services in the sector. The Department of Tourism is rallying support from locals, those abroad with ties to the islands, and travel aficionados to back the U.S. Virgin Islands in this prestigious competition. Assistant Commissioner Alani Henneman expressed enthusiasm about the nominations, stating, “The World Travel Awards are a hallmark of quality within the travel sector, and we’re thrilled at the chance to stand among the elite, showcasing the unique offerings of our region. We urge everyone to cast their vote and demonstrate why the U.S. Virgin Islands stands out as a top Caribbean destination.”

The nominations celebrate the U.S. Virgin Islands’ magnetic appeal, highlighting categories such as Leading Beach Destination, Leading Destination, and Most Romantic Destination. Additionally, the nominations for Frenchman’s Reef – Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort, Autograph Collection, and the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in the Leading New Resort category underscore the islands’ commitment to enhancing its luxury accommodations.

The Department is also proud to announce nominations in the Leading Resort and Leading Destination Management Company categories, calling on the international community to support the U.S. Virgin Islands in achieving these distinguished awards.

To lend your support to the U.S. Virgin Islands or for more details about the nominations, visit the official tourism website at

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Over 45 Million Reached in Dept. of Tourism’s Latest U.S. Virgin Islands Promotion



The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism recently celebrated a major milestone in its efforts to attract more visitors to its shores. Commissioner Joseph Boschulte announced the success of their satellite media tour, which broadcasted the allure of the islands to an extensive audience across the United States on January 18th. The campaign, which spanned cities from Atlanta to Los Angeles, was featured in 428 airings, captivating approximately 45.8 million viewers.

Commissioner Boschulte expressed his excitement about the tour’s widespread impact, saying, “It brings us great pleasure to extend an invitation to millions, showcasing our islands as the quintessential Caribbean getaway that’s easily accessible for U.S. travelers.” He highlighted the unique blend of breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and historical depth that the U.S. Virgin Islands offer.

The media blitz introduced several key attractions and developments, including the debut of luxury resorts such as the Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection, and the Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef on St. Thomas. Additionally, the tour spotlighted the novel Jetcar rentals by VI Exotic Watersports, promising an adventurous experience on the islands’ azure waters.

A focal point of the campaign was the convenience for U.S. citizens traveling to the islands, emphasizing the no-passport-required policy for those flying in from the mainland or Puerto Rico and highlighting direct flight options from major cities.

Boschulte also shed light on the diverse array of activities available across the U.S. Virgin Islands. From the hiking trails of St. John and the pristine beaches like Honeymoon Beach to the world-renowned golf courses and diving spots in St. Croix, and the vibrant shopping and dining scene in St. Thomas. He further noted the appeal of upcoming cultural events such as the St. Croix Annual Agriculture & Food Festival, St. Thomas Carnival, and St. John Celebration, drawing attention to the islands’ rich cultural calendar.

For those interested in exploring the U.S. Virgin Islands and planning their visit, the Department of Tourism invites you to learn more through their official website at

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