Dec. 1, 2004 — Vargrave Richards, acting governor, has signed a contract with the Danish West Indies Travel Agency that he expects will bring new visitors to St. Croix from two additional Scandinavian countries, while increasing the number coming from Denmark. The agreement calls for the Danish travel agency to aggressively market non-stop flights to St. Croix from Copenhagen, as well as packages for 14-night hotel stays in the Virgin Islands.
According to a release from Richards' office Wednesday afternoon, the Danish charter flight company will market the charter operation next year in Denmark, Norway and Sweden at a cost to the Tourism Department of $250,000.
"The current Danish charter program is a success, and an excellent example of public-private partnership in action," Richards said. "In actuality, we are venturing into a viable market and opening the gateway to northern Europe via St. Croix."
According to Richards, the V.I. Bureau of Economic Research has determined that the government's initial investment of $400,000 to market the Virgin Islands in Denmark last year resulted in 3,200 two-week hotel stays.
Based on the territory's hotel occupancy tax, Richards said, the government returned the full $400,000 investment to the Tourism Revolving Fund. Another $300,000 in gross receipts taxes were collected on the $10 million that was spent in the territory by the Danish visitors.
According to the release, the Danish agency has already booked more than 700 14-night hotel stays for 2005.
"The timing is right for this project," Richards said. "The Danes love our culture, particularly the historical aspects of St. Croix. With the dollar weak against the Kroner and Euro, it is appropriate for us to tap the Norwegian and Swedish and other European markets and advertise how easy it now is to take a holiday in paradise."
The contract with the Danish West Indies Travel Agency also calls for the company to assess the feasibility of arriving weekly on St. Croix instead of bi-weekly as it does now.
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