USVIHTA Update | November 2020
Association Health Plan Surveys - If Your Business Has Employees, Your Feedback is Critical!
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. shared his concern regarding the number of persons who do not have access to private health insurance. He is exploring Association Health Plans to allow small businesses, including self-employed workers, to band together to obtain health insurance coverage as if they were a single large employer.
 
The Office of the Governor is conducting a survey of Virgin Islands residents to better understand how to improve access to affordable health insurance. Please take a few moments to answer the following questions about health insurance coverage. 

The APH Survey should be completed by all association members and their employees. The AHP Employer Survey is only for those business owners who have employees. The deadline to complete the surveys is Dec. 18. Click the links below to begin.
 
 
Take the Feedback Survey for the Five Year CEDS and Tourism Master Plan
Thank you to those who were able to participate in the virtual Town Hall Meeting on Nov. 5 in support of the creation of the five-year USVI Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and the Tourism Master Plan (TMP). For those who were unable to attend, we hope you will take the online survey to provide essential feedback for the CEDS and TMP. This survey will help gather data for executing the plan over the next 20 years as these two plans will feed into the Vision2040 plan. This is your opportunity for your voice to be heard and your valuable feedback to be taken into account.
 
Please click the link to provide feedback via the online survey by Nov. 30: https://forms.gle/jYBmELE5E6DLrm4i7

About CEDS and TMP: The Government of the USVI has engaged the University of the Virgin Islands, Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning (UVI CELL) in the creation of the CEDS and the TMP. The CEDS is a locally-based, regionally-driven economic development planning process and document that allows regions to identify strengths and weaknesses and brings together a diverse set of partners to generate jobs, diversify the economy and spur economic growth. The TMP will capture and address post-hurricane and post-COVID-19 impacts on the tourism industry and identify ways to make the industry less vulnerable to economic downturns and natural disasters. The goal is to develop a TMP that lays out the path to a more competitive, diversified, sustainable and resilient tourism industry for the territory. Your participation and feedback are critical to the development of the USVI CEDS/TMP.
VI Small Business Development Center Restaurateur Survey
Attention restaurant, bar and grill owners. As part of the VI SBDC's mission to support small businesses in the territory, please click here to take a survey to share how COVID-19 has impacted your business and to let the
VI SBDC know how they can help your business.
Sites with Beaches Asked to Participate in Vital Blue Flag Research Next Week
We have been called upon to assist the University of the Virgin Islands with a sea level rise study. October and November are King Tides months. We hope you will be able to help in monitoring the relative elevation and impacts of King Tides in the USVI. That would allow us to start documenting the progression of sea level rise in the territory, and potential impacts. It is especially important that all sites located on beaches participate so that data at those locations can be included in the study and referred to in the future – we want to make sure to include the impact of sea level rise on our tourism industry now and in the future. The highest tides of November are predicted for Nov. 16 and 17. Take pictures, measurements before, during and after. Please see attached instructions and confirm your ability to participate in this study. If you have any questions, please reach out to Valerie Peters at marketing@coralworldvi.com.
USVI Welcomes Inaugural JetBlue Airways Flight from JFK to St. Thomas
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. and First Lady Yolanda Bryan joined USVI Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, VI Port Authority CEO Carlton Dowe and USVI Hotel & Tourism Association President Lisa Hamilton in a salute and welcome of the inaugural flight of JetBlue Airways from John F. Kennedy Airport to Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas.

"This flight marks a crucial moment in the territory's economic recovery," noted Hamilton. "A direct flight from New York to the territory as we begin our peak season will generate valuable recognition and revenue for the USVI and its businesses."

This year, JetBlue began its Caribbean expansion with new routes that included the U.S. Virgin Islands. In October, JetBlue launched the new route from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to St. Thomas, with up to two weekly flights to Cyril E. King Airport. JetBlue officials have said that COVID-19 transformed the airline’s route maps, and as they begin to see small signs of recovery, they continue to be flexible with its network plans to respond to demand trends and generate cash in support of its business, and that the airline had selected routes where customers are showing interest in travel again and where their low fares and award-winning experience will be noticed.
St. Thomas Holds onto "Best Caribbean Cruise Destination" Title
St. Thomas has been named the top cruise destination in the Caribbean for the second year in a row. The latest accolade for the island, which has been described as “bustling and cosmopolitan, yet quaint and historic,” comes from readers of Porthole Cruise Magazine, who voted for their favorite destination in the region in the publication’s 22nd Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. The results, published in the November/December 2020 issue of the magazine, also feature dozens of other reader favorites under the categories of best ships, best onboard experiences and best destinations. Read more.

More local and regional news:
On behalf of Brig. Gen. Kodjo Knox-Limbacker, the Virgin Islands National Guard honors all service members who have served and those continuing to serve the United States military. Click here to enjoy a special presentation by the 73rd Army Band as they present pieces that embody who we are as Americans and Virgin Islanders.
USVI Business Resource Hub Draws Interest, Support Among Stakeholders, Business Community in One Online Space
USVI Business Resource Hub, an online and mobile business resource powered by Startup Space, was recently introduced to U.S. Virgin Islands businesses and community stakeholders during its four-day launch, according to an announcement from the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority (VIEDA). This launch was held virtually, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, from Oct. 20-23 in partnership with the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center (VI SBDC), the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (VI DLCA), and the University of the Virgin Islands Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning (UVI CELL). Read more.
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 communications@mybrothersworkshop.org or by calling 340-715-2769. Click here to view the holiday gift flyer. Click here to view the MBW Booklet. MBW is also excited to announce their St. Thomas workshop team is crafting furniture! Click the flyer to the right to expand.
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