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~Recent on-location film projects and promotional partnerships with media generate national exposure for the USVI and stimulate local economy ~

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, May 10, 2011 - A number of high-profile on-location film, video and still projects recently took place in the Territory that have benefited the U.S. Virgin Islands and will continue to do so. Select projects injected significant funds into the local economy while a series of on-island photo shoots and national broadcast opportunities showcasing the destination's offerings to potential visitors have and will continue to generate positive exposure for the Territory.

In April, the production team for a major motion picture filmed scenes on St. Thomas, employing more than 60 residents and utilizing services from several local businesses. The estimated on-island spend was close to $1 million over the course of just one week. The DOT will continue to work with the production company's executives to explore the potential for partnerships around the film's release as well as future projects.

In keeping with the Department's 2011 marketing strategy, the marketing team secured coverage for the destination through on-island photo shoots and national broadcast opportunities. These valuable opportunities yield high return on investments and share key destination branding messages with consumer audiences.

A photo-shoot held in St. Thomas over a five-day period earlier this year yielded 11 pages of coverage and roughly 4.3 million media impression in Essence magazine's May issue. In a three-page spread, supermodel Toccara Jones, a former America's Next Top Model contestant, is photographed with a friend across various sites including The Royal Dane Mall, Oceana, Blackbeard's Castle and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa. In a separate eight-page fashion feature, a model shows off colorful spring clothing and accessory trends amidst the foliage of Villa Botanica. More St. Thomas coverage is slated to appear in the June issue.

In January, a family struck by a natural disaster was afforded an unforgettable St. Thomas vacation when the Department of Tourism and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa hosted them during the taping of popular television series "Extreme Makeover Home Edition." On Sunday May 8 (Mother's Day) at 8:00 p.m. on ABC, approximately 10 million viewers watched the Prewitt-Brewer family from North Central Florida enjoy Coral World and BOSS Underwater Adventure, along with meaningful Mother's Day family gatherings at local restaurants and popular beaches on St. Thomas. The value the destination received from this exposure is over $1 million.

On the May 6 episode of "The Nate Berkus Show," approximately 1.2 million viewers watched as Nate Berkus surprised a woman, who was reunited with her birth mother and grandmother after 40 years of separation, with a vacation to St. Thomas at the Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. The promotional value of this segment is $20,000, resulting in a ROI of 7:1.

On the May 10 episode of the "Today Show," hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee awarded one "Fan of the Week," with a three-night stay at The Buccaneer. The coverage aired to approximately 2.5 million viewers and showcased great visual branding for the destination as well as The Buccaneer. The Today Show is the nation's number one morning show.

The Department of Tourism also gave support to a St. John-based production company to secure a photo shoot with the high-fashion international magazine Vogue China. Secured and coordinated by Ottworks, the shoot was for a two-part fashion spread with accompanying editorial appearing in the May and June issues. The Department assisted by providing flight support for the entire crew and models, and its NY-based PR team worked with the magazine's editors to share key information about the Territory's attractions and activities for an accompanying travel story. The May issue features a seven-page beauty spread set against the azure waters of the USVI, with a 10-page fashion spread to follow in the June issue, in which the Territory's beaches will once again be showcased with photo credits. The June issue will also feature a five -page travel story dedicated to the U.S. Virgin Islands. This Vogue China coverage will result in more than three million media impressions with an ad value of more than $145,000.

Finally, the Territory will be featured on two HGTV programs in the coming months. The popular "House Hunters International" recently filmed an episode in St. Croix while "Bang for Your Buck" shot on St. Thomas. Both programs are real estate focused and will feature three properties and a local realtor as well as beauty shots of the destination. "House Hunters International" has close to one million viewers per episode and has previously filmed in the Territory.

Overall, the Territory's on-island film community and local economy have benefited from the influx of film projects that have shot in the first half of 2011.

"We are extremely pleased to see such an interest in our islands from various types of film production and national broadcast," said Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty. "Hosting these projects in our Territory is an important economic driver, resulting in benefits including on-island spend and the creation of temporary jobs for our residents."

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