FCCA Renews Strategic Development Agreement with the U.S. Virgin Islands

St. Thomas - USVI (Photo courtesy The West Indian Company Ltd)Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) is pleased to announce that it has again partnered with the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) on a strategic development agreement.

The partnership renews the one previously signed in 2022, while also marking more than a decade of USVI being a “Presidential Partner” of FCCA.

“This agreement is another statement speaking to the continued partnership between the U.S. Virgin Islands and FCCA,” said Micky Arison, Chairman of FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc. “The destination has shown its belief in FCCA and the cruise industry through the best and worst of times, and I am honored that this has led to improving the lives and livelihoods of so many people there.”

“The USVI Department of Tourism is excited to resume our partnership with FCCA,” said USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte. “Together we will continue to showcase the USVI to the prestigious audiences that the FCCA helps us reach, along with great opportunities for strategic meetings within the cruise industry.”

After being a success story for Caribbean tourism in the wake of COVID-19 – experiencing a banner year for stay-over tourism in 2021 and then breaking numerous records and receiving multiple accolades in 2022, including the Bronze HSMAI Adrian Awards and Caribbean Journal naming Commissioner Joseph Boschulte ‘Caribbean Tourism Executive of the Year’ as well as listing USVI in ‘The Best Caribbean Islands to Visit in 2023’ and the readers voting the USVI as winner of the ‘Caribbean Travelers’ Choice Awards 2022 – USVI quickly wrote a sequel by moving cruise tourism full steam ahead.

Now USVI projects a full cruise recovery this year, with passenger volume expected to return to 2019 levels in the destination. USVI will also receive an additional 440,000 cruise guests from Royal Caribbean International in 2023 – with St. Croix welcoming 140,000 of those visitors, almost tripling its current annual total, and St. Thomas hosting the remaining 300,000, a 70 percent increase.

Additionally, USVI continues to welcome new ships, including Celebrity Beyond making her maiden voyage to St. Thomas in November 2022. All of this is poised to mean direct benefits for the local economy and citizens, with cruise tourism generating $184.7 million in total expenditures, in addition to $77.9 million in total employee wage income, during the 2017/2018 cruise year, according to the Business Research & Economic Advisors report “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies.”

The agreement focuses on amplifying these benefits. Coming from a directive by the FCCA Executive Committee, comprised of presidents and above of FCCA Member Lines, the agreement features access to key decision makers and their joint efforts with FCCA to fulfill the objectives, including increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to stay-over visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach and more.

Through the agreement, FCCA will not only guide the USVI public sector on enhancing their product and increasing cruise calls, but also will facilitate new experiences to offer cruise companies and collaborate with the local private sector to maximize any opportunities. Additionally, the agreement will put USVI in the spotlight for FCCA programs centered on the hiring of and purchasing goods from local citizens.

Some of the other features of the strategic partnership include promoting summer cruising, engaging travel agents, creating consumer demand and developing a destination service needs assessment that will detail strengths, opportunities and needs.

“We are grateful for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ longstanding support, and we cannot be more excited to reciprocate the faith they have shown in us and the industry by maximizing their benefits from the sector,” said Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA. “Through this agreement, the U.S. Virgin Islands again has FCCA’s full commitment to fulfilling the destination’s initiatives, including assisting the private sector and helping all locals prosper from the economic impact that the industry brings.”

(Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association – FCCA)