US Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte has been named Caribbean Tourism Executive of the Year by Caribbean Journal (CJ).
“No Caribbean destination has seen more growth in the last three years than the US Virgin Islands. So much of that growth can be directly tied to the expert stewardship of Boschulte, who helped craft an innovative, flexible response to the challenges of the pandemic and has continued to drive the USVI’s performance with a data-driven, creative approach to modern tourism,” wrote the editors in explaining their selection.
In the past three years, the USVI — comprising its three beautiful islands, St Thomas, St Croix, and St John — has become one of the world’s most admired destinations not only for its dazzling beauty but for its smart tourism strategies and tactics.
“I am extremely honoured to receive this prestigious recognition especially after these three challenging years. I am fortunate and grateful to lead a talented and hardworking group of colleagues. This award is also a testament to their great dedication, and the cooperation of our partners as we all work closely together on each of our tourism initiatives,” said Boschulte.
During the pandemic when cruising — which accounted for 70 per cent of USVI’s tourism income —literally ceased, it became clear to Boschulte that things had to change, and that the digital world would play an important role in this process. In addition to adroitly shifting from cruise ship travel to hotel and airline partnerships, the USVI implemented an online travel screening portal and worked closely with all local partners, including restaurants, hotels, excursion companies, and other tourism-related businesses, to make visitors and local businesses feel safe and protected.
Boschulte also supported the USVI’s initiatives with a new branding campaign, “Naturally in Rhythm,” that promotes hotel recovery and is designed to inspire visitors to fall naturally in rhythm with the diverse culture, natural wonders, and beautiful hotels and resorts of St Thomas, St Croix, and St John.
The multi-pronged strategies and digital tactics, unceasing networking with airlines and industry partners, and laser dedication, have clearly paid off. With at least two new resorts about to open in the USVI, and tourism numbers up 44 per cent, the USVI is gearing up for a very successful 2023. Already the three-island Territory has reported the highest hotel occupancy rate in the Caribbean with 72.5 per cent from June 2021 to May 2022 and revenues to match.