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Caribbean-On-Line » Caribbean Travel News » U.S. Virgin Islands » U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS UNVEILS NEW TOURISM WEBSITE

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS UNVEILS NEW TOURISM WEBSITE

~ Launch event at Wyndham Sugar Bay celebrates the U.S. Virgin Islands' newest marketing tool ~

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, January 28, 2009 - The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism will unveil its brand new website, VisitUSVI.com, at a special event at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa tonight.

Hosted by Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty and Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa, guests will include President of the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association Lisa Hamilton, as well as representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, a number of local destination marketing companies and participants from the series of on-island website focus groups.

"Throughout the 18-month journey from research to site launch, we worked very closely with industry partners and community leaders to gain their insights and feedback about desired features for the new site," says Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty. "We are excited to finally unveil the website to our local community and introduce these new features, including site navigation which links our prospective visitors directly to our hotel and tourism partners."



A key strategy for the new site has focused on educating potential visitors about USVI offerings, and various navigation and design elements serve to meet this goal. Prospective visitors using the new website enjoy functionality allowing them to create trip planners and outline customized itineraries, featuring the Territory's various tourism entities. Additionally, a new interactive map listing points of interest for St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas entices visitors to get a deeper look at what the USVI has to offer.

Easy site navigation allows visitors to "hop" between island pages, exemplifying how easy it is to actually hop between the islands of the USVI. This style of navigation allows side-by-side comparison of each island's distinct personality and offerings.

Today's launch will outline the first of three phases of the new site, representing a $250,000 investment by the DOT. These funds were earmarked within an existing advertising contract with agency-of-record JWT, out of Atlanta, as JWT's sister agency Studiocom executed the site design and programming. Coming in a later phase and a direct response to focus group and other on-island feedback, VisitUSVI.com will feature a landing page devoted solely to the destination's packages and promotions, which will serve as a resource where offers for travel to the destination can be found. The remaining phases are scheduled to be completed by January 2010, when a booking engine will be added to the site.

Commissioner Nicholson-Doty says, "While increasing the amount of visitors to our site is obviously important, our main objective is to increase visitors to the Territory and educate those who arrive as to the offerings of our destination. This will result in greater visitor spend in the Territory, and explains why we implemented such important new features as linking directly to tourism partners and incorporating interactive maps."

As part of the site creation and research, a series of on-island focus groups representing niche segments including accommodations, culture and heritage, retail, dive, water sports, romance and meetings/incentive were conducted, and feedback stemming from these meetings has been incorporated into the new site.

An important piece of feedback from community leaders and industry partners was a request for an easy-to-remember web address. Beginning today, usvitourism.vi will no longer serve as the primary URL for the Department's website and will now direct users to the new address, VisitUSVI.com.

The unveiling of the new website is an integrated segment of the DOT's overall rebranding efforts for the destination, which kicked off in December with the introduction of the new Mocko Jumbie logo.

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com. When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - including on-line check-in - making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.




Comments (1)

Suzanne said quote-icon-20.gif

AS A TRAVEL AGENCY, WE WILL BOYCOTT THE USVI AND SEND OUR CLIENTS ELSEWHERE!!! Us Virgin Island Hotel and Tourism Association is continuing to run advertisements in the local newspaper advertising Resort Credits, Fourth Night Free and Discounts if the client books directly with the hotel. Not the Travel Agent or the Tour Company. The package is called the Island Escape and can be seen on www.virgin-islands-hotels.com and mention code XXXXXXXXX. As a travel agent I am very disturbed by this. We work very closely with the tour operators and The Virgin Islands and feel the Hotel and Tourism Association is undercutting each one of us trying to avoid paying commissions. We depend on the Tour Companies and the client depends on us, we work very hard to sell the Virgin Islands and to have a Tourism Association cut out Tour Operators and Agents is unprofessional.


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