USVIHTA Update | November 2020
USVIHTA and STXHTA Representatives Keynote Speakers at Diageo Graduation Ceremonies
USVI Hotel & Tourism Association President Lisa Hamilton and St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association member Ted Bedwell, manager at Sand Castle on the Beach, represented the two tourism associations as keynote speakers at recent Diageo graduation ceremonies on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

“For nearly 20 years, UVI CELL has served the community’s workforce development needs. Despite a pandemic, and with the generous support of our sponsors - Diageo USVI, Bellows International, VI Department of Labor, Da Chill Station and The Cast Iron Pot - we were able to provide students with a fully funded vocational training program. Our graduates are now prepared to enter the workforce and earn a living wage,” said Suzanne Darrow-Magras, director of the Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning at the University of the Virgin Islands.

Hamilton, who spoke at the St. Thomas ceremony, told students of her humble beginnings in customer service and how perseverance and passion for the industry led her to become a voice for local and regional tourism.

“Everyone’s introduction into the industry is unique, and not everyone takes the same course. What unifies us is our passion for tourism and an exceptional guest experience. It was an honor to speak to our industry’s future leaders, and I look forward to following their success stories,” said Hamilton after the ceremony.

In addition to their informative and inspiring keynote addresses, both Bedwell and Hamilton offered the students the opportunity to practice interviewing so they can continue their education as they dive into the industry.
Three Beaches Once Again Receive the Prestigious Blue Flag Certification
The USVI Hotel & Tourism Association (HTA) along with the VI Conservation Society (VICS) are pleased to announce that, after the extensive annual review process, three beaches have once again been awarded the Blue Flag status by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label promoting sustainable tourism and awarded to beaches and marinas worldwide who meet the established criteria of the program. It started with 10 participating countries in 1987, and today the Blue Flag Program continues to grow and has been implemented in 45 countries at more 4,000 beaches and marinas across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean. The three beaches receiving this coveted certification are: Emerald Beach and Great Bay on St. Thomas; and Green Cay Beach at Tamarind Reef on St. Croix. Read full press release here.
Americans Set Their Travel Sights on the U.S. Virgin Islands
Data from a leading travel insurance comparison site confirm that demand from U.S.-based travelers for visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands has increased significantly. Based on all travel insurance policies purchased through between March 12 and Oct. 19, 2020, for all future travel, the USVI experienced an increase of more than 200 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Read more.

More local and regional news:
USVI Small Business Resources for November and VISBDC UVI Survey
Click here to view November USVI Small Business Resources from the VI Small Business Development Center.

Additionally, as part of the VISBDC's collaboration with UVI and its students, please click here to take a survey entitled Key Marketing Qualities VI Employers Value.
Save the Date for Giving Tuesday
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on Dec. 1. GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate and celebrate generosity. Learn more about GivingTuesday. And if you support My Brother's Workshop this Giving Tuesday, you can double your impact! All donations (up to $10,000) made on Giving Tuesday will be matched by XO Energy. More info to come!
Do Your Holiday Shopping with My Brother's Workshop!
My Brother's Workshop is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hope and purpose to at-risk and high-risk youth, ages 16-24, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. MBW's holistic approach of mentorship, education, mental health counseling, on the job training and job placement has helped over 1200 young people choose a better path, further their education and ultimately change their lives. MBW is beginning to take orders for the holidays and we thought you and your company may be interested in these personalized items for your employees or clients. All of the products are laser engraved at the MBW Workshop by trainees and all proceeds from orders go back into furthering the mission of the program. If you have any questions please let us know. You may contact MBW directly to place your order at or by calling 340-715-2769. Click the flyer to the right to expand. Click here to view the MBW Booklet.
Save the Date
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