Black Meetings & Tourism magazine presents Commissioner Boschulte

Black Meetings & Tourism Magazine Features Tourism Commissioner Boschulte (submitted)

On November 15, VI Department of Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte graced the cover of the November/December 2022 issue of Black Meetings & Tourism magazine with a two-page article describing his leadership navigating a successful and profitable path through the rocky straits of COVID -19.

After many successful leadership positions in business, government and higher education, Commissioner Boschulte joined the USVI in 2018 when the territory was making a comeback after two devastating Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, which wreaked havoc with winds of 185 miles. He barely had time to get his feet wet when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

The devastating impact of COVID on a global scale required quick thinking and pivoting. Boschulte noted in the article: “We recognized that what had been the driver in the past would no longer be. We went 18 months without a single cruise ship.

That was saying a lot because the territory’s tourism revenue was largely dependent on cruising. With three to four ships visiting daily, USVI is one of the largest cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Before the pandemic, cruising injected more than $300 million into the local economy and accounted for around 70% of tourism activity.

The article explains how Boschulte quickly launched a new strategy in response to the pandemic and focused on improving air travel and overnight stays. He said: “Our comeback during the pandemic has been successful thanks to our shift from cruise ship travel to hotel and airline partnerships. Unlike other Caribbean islands, USVI’s airports have never closed.

Additionally, they have set up an online travel screening portal and have worked closely with all their local partners including restaurants, hotels, tour agencies and other tourism-related businesses. The article points out that Boschulte is constantly on the road to advocate for its destination, network and sell USVI to potential visitors. He crosses the borders to convince tourists to travel thousands of kilometers to visit the territory.

So far, his new strategy seems to be working. With at least two rebuilt resorts set to open in the USVI, and tourist numbers up 44%. The two reconstructions open on Saint-Thomas, the first in 30 years for the island. These are The Westin Beach Resort and Spa at Frenchman’s Reef and The Seaborn at Frenchman’s Reef, an autograph collection, following an investment of more than $425 million in the property.

USVI is gearing up for a very successful 2023. Already, the Tri-Island Territory has recorded the highest hotel occupancy rate in the Caribbean with 72.5% from June 2021 to May 2022 and corresponding revenues. The strategy was also reinforced by the new brand campaign, “Naturally in Rhythm”, which supports the hotel’s recovery and is designed to inspire visitors to fall naturally to the rhythm of cultural diversity, natural wonders and beautiful St. Thomas hotels and resorts. , Sainte-Croix and Saint-Jean.

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Amanda P. Whitten