U.S. Virgin Islands A Tourism Rebound Story In Caribbean — But Delta Variant A Menace

Penni Schewe

The Caribbean depends heavily on tourism. The COVID-19 pandemic — and the disappearance of cruise ship tourists — have strike the islands’ economies especially tough.

But a person Caribbean spot which is bounced back extra robustly is the U.S. Virgin Islands, or USVI: St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and 50 other small isles.

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Which is in no small section mainly because the U.S. island territory has had obtain to U.S.-supplied vaccines and economic relief. Individuals components — furthermore the USVI’s tests, vaccination and mask-donning needs for readers — have provided the territory a far more COVID-harmless image.

“For us in the USVI, folks in the hospitality industry feel to be vaccinated at a greater price than the relaxation of the community, which of system aids our tourism product for the reason that individuals do not go on holiday vacation to get unwell,” said Joseph Boschulte, the U.S. Virgin Islands tourism commissioner, in an job interview with WLRN.

Boschulte was in Miami in excess of the weekend partly to deal with the COVID virus’ delta variant and how it issues the U.S. Virgin Islands’ capacity to safely retain the non-cruise-ship tourism that had been increasing strongly this 12 months, elevating St. Croix’s resort occupancy to 90% not too long ago.

“The circumstance is fluid,” Boschulte conceded. “With the new information and facts we’re acquiring, we’re incredibly anxious that we don’t get complacent — simply because as important as protecting public wellness, we also have to preserve the islands alive.”

For the reason that of the delta surge in the Caribbean and the U.S. — which Boschulte said has elevated the day by day selection of new circumstances in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the latest months — USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. has requested educational institutions there to open virtually this month and not in particular person.

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