Governor Albert Bryan will lead a U.S. Virgin Islands delegation at the annual Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit (CHRIS) in Miami this week, the Department of Tourism (D.O.T.) has announced.
Mr. Bryan will hold high-level discussions with leaders from the travel and tourism sector and the international investment community at the Miami summit from May 21 to 23, D.O.T. said. He will also highlight the territory’s assets at a plenary discussion featuring heads of government from the British Virgin Islands and French St. Martin, which will be moderated by Frank Comito, CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.
“This is a particularly important venue for destinations like the U.S. Virgin Islands because of the need to refresh and revitalize our tourism product, which is the economic bedrock of our islands,” said Mr. Bryan, whose administration, according to D.O.T., is gaining notice for its business-friendly and community-focused approach to development.
“Our tourism product is well-known, but we need continuing investment to ensure we stay among the leaders of the industry in the Caribbean so we can continue to generate benefits for our investors as well as for the people of the Virgin Islands,” the governor said.
D.O.T. Commissioner Designee added that there was a need for capital to speed the development of new projects, including accommodations and attractions, across the territory. “With the reopening of major resorts over the next several months, we will unveil some of the most modern lodging options available in the region. The addition of new projects will further enhance our cachet among today’s discerning travelers,” he said.
Financiers and investment executives will network with hotel owners, builders, hotel chain managers, government officials and media, generating productive exchanges and partnerships at the summit, D.O.T. said.
“As a true testament to USVI’s focus and dedication to attracting overall tourism investment and hotel development to the islands, we are delighted to have the Territory’s esteemed leadership team involved in the Caribbean Hotel & Resort Investment Summit in Miami,” said Jeff Higley, president of The BHN Group, organizers of the parley. “The potential opportunities for collaboration between USVI officials and CHRIS delegates are precisely why the event exists, and we welcome each of them with open arms.”
More than 30 percent of attendees at CHRIS are chief executives, presidents, or owners of companies, making it one of the most keenly attended conferences focused on the Caribbean.
Governor Bryan said it was important for his administration to show its support for tourism and to outline the new direction of the USVI’s hospitality sector. “Under the guidance of our experienced team at the Economic Development Authority and the Department of Tourism, we will build upon our foundation, while implementing newly defined targets as well as the ways and means to achieve our goals,” he said.
Kamal Latham, CEO of the Economic Development Authority, will address delegates on opportunities available across the Virgin Islands during a special plenary session; while Mr. Boschulte will speak on a panel entitled “The Cultural and Experiential Value Proposition for Hotels/Resorts”.