St. Croix is ‘reshaping the guest experience’

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The Ann E. Abramson pier in Frederiksted, St. Croix


As the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) marks the fifth anniversary of the devastating impact of the twin Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria this month, one of its special gems is looking forward to an uptick in visitors in the months ahead.


The Office of the Governor, in partnership with Royal Caribbean Group and the Department of Tourism, will stage its fifth USVI Community Business Forum on Thursday, September 8 to engage the business community in preparing for the upcoming, enhanced cruising season.


“In April, Royal Caribbean announced plans to increase port calls to St. Croix in the upcoming cruising season, from approximately 50,000 passengers before the COVID pandemic hit, to now 140,000 passengers. That is incredible and welcome news, and we want to make sure the business community is planning and preparing for the increase in passengers,” said David Bornn, Chief Legal Counsel for the Office of the Governor.


Bornn, who developed the Community Business Forum series, said “the forum gives our business community an opportunity to engage directly with administration officials, cruise line and hospitality experts.”


Akeel St. Jean, President of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, said: “Now it’s time for the business community, shop owners, taxi drivers, excursion providers, and foodie establishments to put together our best thoughts and ideas for crafting experiences that will make our cruise passengers want to stay, spend and return. This is about all of us,” he commented.


Thursday’s forum will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Great Hall, on St. Croix. The event will also be livestreamed at


The theme of the forum is ‘Reshaping the Guest Experience’, and the conversation will address business opportunities, prioritizing customer service, the tourism infrastructure, and building a skilled hospitality workforce.


In addition to St. Jean, speakers include Crystal Campbell, Royal Caribbean’s Director of Business Integration; Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte; Commissioner of Sports, Parks & Recreation Calvert White; Julien Henley, ADA Coordinator in the Office of the Governor; Dr. Kendra Harris, Dean of the School of Business at the University of the Virgin Islands; and Lisa Hamilton, President of the USVI Hotel & Tourism Association.

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