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Caribbean-On-Line » Caribbean Travel News » Group & Incentive Travel » U.S. Virgin Islands » USVI DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM UNVEILS 2009 GROUP INCENTIVE PROGRAM


~ Program Designed to Increase Group Sales and Boost Local Businesses ~

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands, December 10, 2008 - In efforts to boost group business to the U. S. Virgin Islands next year and stimulate demand for local recreational services, the Department of Tourism is launching a Group Rewards Program for meeting planners beginning December 15.

Meeting planners who book a block of 20 or more rooms for a minimum of four nights between December 15, 2008 and April 30, 2009 for group travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands between January 1 and December 31, 2009 will be entitled to a $50 credit for each member of their group, with up to $100 per room booking. The credit is designed to support an array of on-island businesses including restaurants, taxi services, leisure activities and attractions throughout St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas.

"The corporate and incentive market represents up to 25 percent of all overnight visitors to the Territory and is of great importance to the U.S. Virgin Islands," states Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty. "As such, the Department of Tourism designed this program not only to boost hotel occupancy during this challenging economic period, but also to increase the demand for other tourism services including dining, attractions and transportation."

The Department of Tourism's marketing team, with the help of its New York-based Public Relations firm M Booth & Associates, is aggressively promoting the Group Rewards Program to a wide range of media outlets, including major travel and meetings trade publications such as Meetings & Conventions, Travel Weekly, Incentive and Smart Meetings, and blogs on popular industry Web sites like Travel Agent Central, and Meanwhile, the Department's advertising agency J Walter Thompson, has strategically purchased ads in top meetings trade publications like Meetings & Incentives, Corporate Meetings & Incentives, and Additionally, the Department of Tourism has printed a rack card for the sales team to distribute to meeting planners and has developed a dedicated microsite -, where meeting planners can access a list of local destination management companies that can book local events and activities for their groups. In addition, a series of e-blasts promoting the program will be distributed to meeting planners from several databases including those of two top meetings trade publications.

As further incentive for meeting planners to book groups in the U.S. Virgin Islands over competing destinations, the Group Rewards Program also includes a sweepstakes offering meeting planners a chance to win $5,000.

Hotels participating in the Group Rewards Program include: Best Western Carib Beach Resort, Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa on St. Thomas; The Buccaneer, Carambola Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort and The Palms at Pelican Cove on St. Croix; as well as the Westin Resort on St. John.

The Group Rewards Program applies to new bookings only and cannot be combined with any other offer. To take advantage of the $50 per person credit, groups must be booked through one of the participating Destination Management Companies, including Caribbean Tour Services, Island Meetings & Incentives, Inc., Premier Destination Services and Tropic Tours on St. John and St. Thomas; and SunCelebrations on St. Croix. Details of the Group Rewards Program and sweepstakes can be found at

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, visit 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.

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