USVIHTA Update | October 2019
Greetings Members

We invite you to join USVIHTA and the VI Professional Charter Association on Nov. 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Yacht Haven Grande for our Membership Mixer in conjunction with the Day Charter Conference. Click here to view the flyer and RSVP with Lisa Hamilton at lisa@usvihta.com . Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you there!
USVI Coral Disease Resources
In early 2019, St. Thomas reefs began experiencing an unprecedented lethal coral disease outbreak that is quickly spreading throughout the region. The USVI Department of Planning an d Natural Resources is working with partners from federal and local agencies, universities and members of the community to investigate and address this devastating epidemic known as Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. Lisa Terry with the Nature Conservancy recently met with the St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association to discuss SCTLD. Attached here is an informative one sheet with quick facts about SCTLD. Attached here is a comprehensive photo chart to assist in identifying diseased coral. Click here for information on disinfecting water sports gear. Click here for an article from Reuters as well as a video highlighting the fight against SCTLD. You can also visit the DPNR page for more information. If you see anything suspicious, please use the link on the DPNR page to report it.
Utilizing the SBA Network to Start and Grow Your Business
Join the VI Small Business Development Center on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the VISBDC Nisky Center location for a free course. This program will cover the primary tools and resources the SBA provides to empower business owners and entrepreneurs to access capital, valuable resources, business know-how and the right expertise for each stage of the business lifecycle. SBA programs discussed will include technical support providers, loans, federal contracting certifications, trade/exporting, SBIR/STTR, disaster assistance and more. Register online here .
N ew Member Spotlight: Love City Excursions
Love City Excursions is a private day charter company based on St. John - locally owned and operated by Joe and Katie Zachary. Joe and Katie have lived on St. John for over twelve and thirteen years, respectively. They are both U.S. Coast Guard 100 ton licensed captains and have worked in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands on various charter boats for over 18 years combined. Love City Excursions features two 33' world Cat power catamarans, and they specialize in 100 percent customizable day charters in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. A day on the water includes exploring the U.S. and British Virgin Islands on your own private powerboat, snorkeling in some of the world’s clearest waters and sipping on delicious beverages while beach and bar hopping through our Caribbean Islands. Featuring snorkeling gear, pool noodles, comfortable bean bag chairs and seating for 12, CatZilla is the perfect boat for adults and children alike. Visit www.lovecityexcursions.com or call 340-998-7604 to learn more. Click here for more images from Love City Excursions.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. Signs Hotel Development Act
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed the Hotel Development Act during a bill-signing ceremony on Oct. 7. The legislation is part of Bryan’s plan to bring economic stability to the territory and to increase and enhance the tourism industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In attendance were Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach, Finance Commissioner Kirk Callwood, Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, Sen. Kurt Vialet, Economic Development Authority CEO Kamal Latham, and USVI Hotel & Tourism Association President Lisa Hamilton. Click here to view a video from the signing.

More from VI Government:
U.S. Virgin Islands Tourism on a Positive Trajectory
The USVI is reporting close to a 50 percent increase in stay over arrivals this year, a clear signal that tourism in the territory is on a strong rebound. Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte announced that according to the U.S. Virgin Islands Bureau of Economic Research, the territory welcomed 347,725 stay over arrivals on St. Thomas, about a 70 percent increase over 2018, while St. Croix has seen an increase of 5.2 percent, with 117,203 arrivals from January to August this year. Read more .

More from the USVI Department of Tourism:
Caribbean Hotels and Aspiring Vacationers Unite to Support Northern Bahamas
Travelers wishing to support the victims of Hurricane Dorian are stepping up to the plate by seizing opportunities to travel to the Caribbean and areas of The Bahamas unaffected by the unprecedented storm. Nearly 100 of the region's outstanding hotels responded to the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's call for support of a one-month online travel auction last month. The response from hoteliers was overwhelming, prompting CHTA to launch a second travel auction this month. Read more . Members can also post available positions on the CHTA Job Bank site to help northern Bahamas hospitality professionals seeking employment.

More from CHTA:
Help My Brother’s Workshop Reach $100,000 Goal to Continue Changing Lives
The launch of MBW’s “Celebrate Fall, Celebrate Hope” fundraising campaign at Rock City Beer Barn was a huge success, bringing in almost $3000 in donations. Thank you to Rock City Beer Barn for hosting, and thank you to all who took the time to attend, volunteer, donate and support! We are now at 14 percent of our $100k by Dec. 1 goal with $13,853 in total donations! We know we can achieve this thanks to our amazing supporters. For those of you who you weren’t able to attend but want to support the campaign, donations can be made by visiting give.classy.org/celebratefall or checks may be mailed to: My Brother's Workshop, PO Box 503205, St. Thomas, VI 00805.
Deadline Extended! MicroMentor Caribbean Innovation Challenge Offering up to $5000 for Small Businesses
In partnership with Bacardi and MercyCorps, MicroMentor (a free and easy to use online platform for entrepreneurs to connect with experienced business mentors around the world) is offering the Caribbean Innovation Challenge 2019 as part of their efforts to promote economic recovery in the USVI after the 2017 hurricanes. The goal of the challenge is to support licensed small businesses throughout the USVI. The contest is free to enter and 25 winners will receive a cash prize of up to $5,000 USD. All USVI entrepreneurs are also invited to join the MicroMentor platform to find free mentoring in our global community. The Challenge launched on Aug. 15 and now concludes on Oct. 21. Submit your application today ! If you have any questions, please contact the MicroMentor team at challenge@micromentor.org .
FEMA Update: Flood Insurance Rates Increase
On Oct. 1, FEMA announced key changes for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to begin on April 1, 2020. These changes include updated increases to conform to the premium rate caps established by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA). Beginning on April 1, 2020, renewal premiums will increase an average of 11.3 percent. These amounts do not include the HFIAA Surcharge, or the Federal Policy Fee (FPF). Nearly 80 percent of policyholders already pay a full-risk rate and will therefore not experience this rate increase. The Severe Repetitive Loss Premium is increasing to 10 percent for all policies covering properties with that designation. Read more .
Bryan Williams on Being a "Wow" Employee
Save the Date
Click here to view upcoming events. And don't forget to share your special events with members today by emailing kaufmann.laurel@gmail.com .
Lisa Hamilton 
USVIHTA President 
340-774-6835