« February 2005 | Main | April 2005 »

March 22, 2005

U.S. House Approves Financial Oversight For USVI

Its an unworkable solution to a nonexistent problem,” said the governor.

This is getting stranger and stranger... what happens if this bill becomes law? The governor will have to apply to a third party for any funds? Does the steak and lobster stop flowing on Government hill?

Posted by afinta at 08:23 AM

March 15, 2005

This is good news for us

One of the few bright spots of the Department of Tourisms efforts in selling the territory was Martin PR out of Virginia, and especially the efforts there of Luana Wheatley. So what does the DT do? Fire Martin and go with a new firm. Their loss is the gain of the Hotel & Tourism Association (of which we are a member in good standing). This is from the Daily News:

Luana Wheatley, longtime manager of public relations for the V.I. Tourism Department, has taken a new position as marketing director with the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association.

Wheatley's move to represent the private sector comes one month after the V.I. Tourism Department announced it was changing public relations agencies.

The V.I. Tourism Department announced in February that it had replaced its public relations agency of nine years, Martin Public Relations, with M. Booth & Associates of New York after a comprehensive public relations account review.

Wheatley, who was the V.I. government's account supervisor with Martin Public Relations, took her new position working on behalf of the private sector on March 1.

"I am proud of my past work with the USVI and am happy to continue to participate in the marketing effort," Wheatley said. "The hoteliers have supported me since I was a fledgling in this industry and I am excited to use my experience to help promote our wide variety of products to the travel consumer."

"We are very excited that Luana has agreed to join our team," said Beverly Nicholson, President of the V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association. "She brings a wealth of experience that will assist the association with its strategic plan to market aggressively the accommodations, attractions, dining, activities and retail opportunities of the membership. Her appointment will allow us to expand our overall marketing and public relations efforts as she directs the plans of our Cooperative Marketing Initiative."

A Virgin Islands native, Wheatley spent the past nine years with Martin Public Relations. In that position, she managed the territory's strategic public relations efforts, including the distribution of updates to national and international media, press tours, special event planning, trade show coordination, photo and film shoots, crisis communications, and production of promotional materials. Before working in the travel industry, she spent years in radio and as a window dresser and event planner.

Posted by afinta at 02:47 PM

March 12, 2005

Underwater Explorer Returns, Finds Fewer Fish

From the St. Thomas Source:

March 11, 2005 –– While the reef structure still looks good, most of the big fish are gone, acclaimed oceanographer Sylvia Earle said Friday after she dove at Lameshur Bay, St. John.      "Nobody's home. I didn't even see a barracuda," she said.      Earle is in the Virgin Islands to help the Ocean Conservancy launch its book, "The State of the Coral Reefs of the U.S. Virgin Islands."

Click here for the whole article

While I don't doubt there are fewer fish around than there were 35 years ago, statements like this seem a little simplistic and silly. Who has snorkeled in the Virgin Islands and not seen a barracuda at one point? She goes down for one dive, doesn't see a barracuda and makes it sound like there are none left? Maybe it is just the quote standing by itself but it doesn't make a lot of sense to make statements like this.

Posted by afinta at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2005

Busy days in the V.I.

Haven't had much time to write here lately. The season has been busy and we are working on a lot of behind the scenes changes to USVI-On-Line and Caribbean-On-Line - hopefully you will get to see some of them soon. We have had record traffic the last 2 months and record sales to go along with it, thanks to all of you who came to the site (and a special thanks to all who buy!). We sold about 30 trips to the U.S.V.I. in January and February.

We also had a nice write up in MarketWatch.com by part time St. Johnian Frank Barnako, who also happens to author the News Of St. John blog.

We did have some time to have some fun too - that included a one day trip to Anegada recently while an old friend was visiting from NJ. I put up some pictures of the outstanding Loblolly Bay area here if you are curious. The snorkeling was top notch - deep water, huge reefs, amazing specimens of coral and fish. We are planning to spend a few days there this June, staying right on Loblolly Bay on Lavenda Breeze. After that trip I will have a more detailed report of Anegada and more pictures, including (I hope) some of the flamingos too.

This week saw the arrival of the Mirabella V in the harbor (pic below) which as of this post is the tallest single masted ship in the world. It is pretty impressive. It is the ship out in the harbor on the right just at the point of Hassle Island.

Posted by afinta at 02:58 PM