Demand for travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands is surging, the USVI Department of Tourism reported after meeting with airline officials last week.
After talks with United Airlines in Chicago and American Airlines in Dallas, tourism commissioner designee Joseph Boschulte said there was strong demand for seats to the territory's airports on St. Thomas and St. Croix this past winter season, which is likely to result in additional capacity for the winter 2019-20 season, as well as for the following summer.
In fact, Boschulte reported that United was preparing to launch daily nonstop Houston-St. Thomas service for this summer and would also consider plans for new and additional flights to St. Thomas and St. Croix the following summer, especially with the increased business from the oil refinery on St. Croix and as additional hotel rooms become available
During Boschulte's meeting with American Airlines at its Dallas headquarters, the airline reported robust growth and demand to the destination. Under consideration for American, he disclosed, was increased capacity from Chicago, Dallas and Miami in the coming months, and potential for growth out of the Charlotte hub in the future.
While in Chicago and Dallas, Boschulte also met with travel agents, meeting planners, travel writers, social influencers and community leaders to update them on the territory's recovery, as well as to develop smart partnerships. "These meetings matter as we embark on a managed growth strategy through the full return of land-based tourism following the storms of 2017," he said in a written release.
As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.