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Planning family reunion travel for clients can be a tricky proposition, as it involves a lot of variables and moving parts. Do all the members of the family have passports? Is air access convenient for all? Is there a variety of activities to meet the family’s spectrum of interests?
Over the years, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has been able to meet the unique demands of family reunion travel.
The USVI Department of Tourism recently announced a promotion that makes family reunion travel to the destination even more appealing. Its 2016-2017 Family Reunion Package Promotion includes a number of booking incentives, including $350 in spending credits for family-focused activities and a free night at participating hotels. The promotion is especially designed to reach out to Virgin Islanders who have made their homes in other parts of the world.
"Virgin Islanders living abroad are part of the tourism fabric of our territory, and it is important that we give them every incentive to come back to connect with their loved ones and to participate in the economic revitalization of our communities," said Canika John, director of marketing for the USVI Department of Tourism.
Hotels participating in the promotion include The Green Iguana Hotel, Galleon House, Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort and Windward Passage Hotel on St. Thomas; The Buccaneer, Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino, The Palms at Pelican Cove, Sand Castle on the Beach and Mount Victory Camp Eco-Lodge on St. Croix; and The Westin St. John Villas on St. John. While the USVI is a chain of 50 islands, its tourism offering centers on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John.
St. Thomas is where clients will find the widest range of hotels, duty-free shops and restaurants, especially in the island’s capital, Charlotte Amalie. Popular activities include the Skyride to Paradise Point, where the family reunion group can take in scenic sea views.
St. Croix is the largest island of the three and has a laidback Caribbean vibe. The island’s largest town, Christiansted, is filled with historical sites such as the Old Danish Customs House and Fort Christiansvaern, and it can be explored on foot along cobblestone streets. If the family reunion group has a number of diving enthusiasts, St. Croix is the right choice for them.
While St. John, the smallest of the trio of islands, only has one resort participating in the family reunion promotion, it should still be on a group’s radar, especially if they’re nature lovers. Two-thirds of the island is protected land, including 5,650 underwater acres of Virgin Islands National Park. A highlight of the park is the Trunk Bay Underwater Trail, which has 659 feet of snorkeling trails, with underwater placards that identify coral and provide information about the marine life of the reef. Getting to St. John from St. Thomas is a fun activity in itself, since most people make the trip via a 20-minute ferry ride between the two islands. This ease of travel makes St. John an easy day trip from St. Thomas.
There’s lots to recommend when it comes to family reunion travel in the USVI. Unlike many destinations in the Caribbean, a U.S. passport is not required. Clients also won’t have to contend with the red tape of immigration and customs. In addition, the U.S. dollar is the currency of choice, English is the main language, and driving is on the right side of the road, which will encourage clients to rent a vehicle and explore on their own.
As part of the Family Reunion Package Promotion, clients will also receive a customized family T-shirt and welcome gift bag. When booking the promotion, agents should use booking code FR16 to secure room blocks. All bookings must be made by Dec. 15, 2016, for travel through Dec, 15, 2017.