Despite hurricanes and economic ills, the territory has been more than holding its own in the competitive world of tourism lately, if three publications with national circulation are a good gauge.
The November issue of Corporate and Incentive Travel magazine featured the publication's 1999 Award of Excellence recipients — 116 hotels, resorts and conference centers and 37 convention and visitors bureaus, the category which included the V.I. Tourism Department.
Nearly 50,000 subscribers to the magazine cast their votes, according to a Tourism Department release. The Virgin Islands was a first-time winner, and was one of just two Caribbean honorees, the other being the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.
The hotel, resort and conference center properties included three from Puerto Rico, two from the Bahamas, and one each from Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
The magazine's awards supplement included a full-page message about the Virgin Islands' appeal as a meeting and corporate incentive travel destination from Michael Bornn as "commissioner of tourism." The publication was off the presses by the time Bornn was ousted by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull on Oct. 28.
The other two magazines cited the territory in rankings of categories of appeal to travelers.
Modern Bride asked 3,000 American Society of Travel Agents members to rate destinations in several "World's Best Honeymoon" categories and announced the winners at the recent ASTA World Congress. Overall, the Virgin Islands was ranked sixth. It came in fourth in "Best Destination for Weddings," also fourth in "Best Beaches," fifth in "Best Diving," sixth in "Most Privacy," also sixth in "Most Romantic," and 10th in "Best Partying."
Travel Holiday magazine announced the 1999 winners of its "Caribbean Insider Award" in its October issue. The winners were selected by the editors of the magazine, which reaches 1.6 million readers, according to a Tourism Department release. "The award recognizes the 25 best ways to get wet in the Caribbean," the release stated. The Virgin Islands was ranked as the No. 7 "Get-Wet Escape" in the Caribbean.
The editors were looking for such attractions as "secret waterfalls, private pools, lakes, mud baths, beaches and special water-related excursions," the release said. The magazine cited St. John for a secret snorkeling site promising "pristine sands and undamaged reefs" that is a favorite stop of marine naturalists under the heading "pelagic pleasures." Other islands making the list included Anguilla, the Bahamas, the British Virgins, the Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Sint Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Turks and Caicos.
Meanwhile, Tourism is hosting two travel industry events on the mainland — press conferences and receptions in New York on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and in Miami on Thursday, Dec. 2. Both are intended to persuade stateside industry professionals that the territory's tourism product has not been harmed by Hurricanes Jose and Lenny. Poster-size blow-ups of photographs taken in the aftermath of Lenny will be prominently displayed.
Tourism acting commissioner Monique Sibilly-Hodge is being joined at the events by representatives of the territory's hotel and tourism associations and staff of the regional Tourism offices in the two cities. "Travel media, travel wholesalers, airline partners including American Airlines and United Air Lines, and top-booking travel agents have been invited to attend," a Tourism release put out by Martin Public Relations, the territory's national agency, states.
Sibilly-Hodge also will be the keynote speaker at a luncheon of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives in New York. Her topic will be "post-Hurricane Lenny marketing, with an emphasis on the crisis communication efforts that the Department of Tourism has conducted during the last week," the release states.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here