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For Immediate Release

Source: United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Contacts:

Alani Henneman-Todman, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism +1 340 774-8784
ahenneman@usvitourism.vi

Bevan Springer, Marketplace Excellence +1 201 861-  2056
bevan@marketplaceexcellence.com

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Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS EARNS CLOSE TO $1 MILLION IN MEDIA COVERAGE AS VIRTUAL CARNIVAL KICKS OFF

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (April 27, 2020) – While revelers are unable to jump up and play mas during the 68th edition of Carnival Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, the Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals’ Virtual Carnival series is generating exceptional media coverage for the Territory.

Ian Turnbull, Director of the Division of Festivals, reported that tactics to move the Carnival into a virtual environment are paying strong dividends that are expected to benefit the U.S. Virgin Islands once the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic subsides and leisure visitors return to the islands.

Turnbull, whose team recently unveiled a full schedule of Virtual Carnival activities and performances, including live-streamed village performances by leading Virgin Islands and Caribbean musicians and DJs, reported that media relations efforts have earned strong national media coverage in outlets such as Travel + Leisure, Essence, Travel Agent Central, Lonely Planet and Recommend magazine.

“Through the hard work of the Department of Tourism and our national public relations agency, we have earned approximately $1 million in coverage just from the premiere of our ‘Home Wuk’ series, featuring disc jockey DJ Avalanche,” said Turnbull. He added that while the marketing value had been priceless, the online presence also enabled the Division to share important public health messages to residents and potential visitors to the Territory.

Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte predicted that the economic recovery for the Territory will be arduous , but believes that adopting strategies “to keep our beautiful islands and vibrant culture on the minds of our various publics during the pandemic is critically important.”

“Life will be very different once global travel returns, and given the ‘bread and butter’ importance of tourism to the Territory, we will need to be strategic in our public health messaging and our travel marketing as airline itineraries return and accommodations begin to reopen across our islands,” said the Commissioner.

Turnbull reported that the initial Facebook Live event to launch the ‘Home Wuk’ series debuted with more than 75,000 views, 1,439 shares, 25,511 comments and over 2,400 reactions.

The Division of Festivals recently announ ced the launch of an expanded Virtual Carnival experience featuring replays of the 2017 and 2019 Children’s and Adults’ parades on WTJX-TV; live-streamed village performances by Fusion, Spectrum and Shaw HP bands, and local artists Pumpa and Mic Love; an online take on J’ouvert celebrations (dubbed “Jou’Virtual”); and performances by popular DJs and local and regional artists.

Additional performers for the Virtual Carnival line-up include Virgin Islands recording artist Pressure Busspipe who will perform on May 1, while Cool Session Brass and St. Lucia’s groovy soca sensation Teddyson John will perform on May 2.

The Division of Festivals is also offering a weekly Carnival Zumba session with veteran instructor Gaynel Harris. The next class will be held on April 29, featuring top musician Shaw, who has a strong following among younger members of the Virgin Islands community.

“Our Virtual Carnival is a wonderful and timely opportunity to give back to our community, and to show the world the creativity and culture of the U.S. Virgin Islands ,” said Commissioner Boschulte.

He added that due to the significant decline in tourism activity, the Department of Tourism is considering  promotions to leverage the pent-up demand for travel in general, and specifically, demand for a USVI travel experience.

The updated calendar for the Virtual Carnival is available at  https://tinyurl.com/y9q9aqnm .

Follow the Division of Festivals on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/USVIFestivals  ), and for more information contact the team at usvifestivals@usvitourism.vi.

About the U.S. Virgin Islands
For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to  VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Instagram ( @visitusvi), Twitter ( @usvitourism), and become a fan on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI). 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.

ENDS