A USVI delegation attended the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, to bolster tourism from Canada and attract more film productions to the territory.
Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte addressed more than 40 journalists last Thursday to provide an update on the U.S. Virgin Islands’ tourism product, signaling the territory’s return to the Canadian market.
“Our new tourism vision includes elevating our presence in markets which hold tremendous potential, and we believe Canada — from Toronto to Montreal and Vancouver — is critically important,” said Boschulte in a news release.
Heartened by the strong interest in the USVI for both stayover and cruise visits, the tourism chief said part and parcel of the department’s strategy is to work with its neighbors in the British Virgin Islands to secure nonstop flights from Toronto. “Before long, we will be featuring some of the newest and most modern accommodations in the Caribbean and we need to ensure that our aerial highways from international gateways are as strong as our domestic airlift,” he said.
Luana Wheatley, the department’s film director, said coupled with some attractive incentives, the U.S. Virgin Islands provides diverse experiences for productions — whether feature films, television programming, documentaries or music videos — highlighting the work ethic of local talent, whose experience rivals industry experts in big cities like New York and Los Angeles.
“Think exotic yet American with vistas that mirror Greek hillsides, rural South Africa, pastoral Vietnam, picturesque Portugal, coastal Mexico and so much more. In addition to the main islands of St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island, our uninhabited out islands offer yet another set of unique ‘blank-slate’ locations,” said Wheatley, who underscored that strong infrastructure and support services combine to contribute to the success of any production.