By Ilona Kauremszky
When the new governor asks you to take on a leadership role, you don’t say no.
Luckily for US Virgin Islands Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty, who was recently appointed by Governor Kenneth Mapp, the timing was just right. She previously held the territory’s top tourism job and has been the chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization since 2012.
On a recent visit to Toronto, Commissioner Nicholson-Doty met with CT to provide details on new tourism developments. A unique destination for the Canadian traveller, the USVI is a place that requires a little bit more effort to get to, but once there you want to “lean back and lean in.”
The USVI has been described as a destination in which clients can enjoy multiple island experiences. Comprised of three major islands, including the newer Water Island located in the Charlotte Amalie Harbour, Nicholson-Doty is excited about this particular island’s upcoming prospects.
“There are plans to build a resort on Water Island and we are excited about that,” she said of island’s first hotel since 1989.
Clients interested in food, history and culture can explore St Croix, the largest but lesser-known island. They can observe craftmaking or enjoy authentic cuisine like the fungi (pronounced ‘foongee’—a cornmeal-type concoction boiled with okra) and callaloo, a thick stew.
The Estate Whim Museum in St Croix, which opened in December, offers demonstrations and interactive activities depicting traditional Crucian experiences.
The popular cruise hub of St Thomas is a compact island that is known as a shoppers’ bastion for its duty free opportunities in downtown Charlotte Amalie. Nicholson-Doty noted that the capital city is a legendary jewellery haven. Big luxury brands like the watch manufacturer Breitling introduces its new products in St Thomas. “They sell more Breitling watches than they do on Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue,” she added.
For outdoor adventure most of the sprawling lush tropical island of St John is reserved as a national park. “Anyone who’s been to the US Virgin Islands has spent a day on St John Island,” she said of the eco-tourist’s paradise. Home to some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, like Trunk Bay and Hawksnest Bay, the island has well appointed hiking trails, snorkelling and scuba diving spots and a collection of impressive heritage sites, such as the Annaberg Ruins that date back to the early sugar plantation days.
The USVI has easy, connecting flights through Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Charlotte.
For more USVI tourism information, travel agents can log onto http://www.visitusvi.com/travel_agents