The Virgin Islands Tourism Department took its marketing messages to Italy in anticipation of welcoming European visitors once again this November.

“Italy is one of a select group of international markets in which the territory will strategically focus its marketing activities in the coming weeks and months,” V.I. Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte said, and added that the department has also identified Canada and Scandinavia as key markets for the V.I.

In Milan, the commissioner and his team met with leading Italian tour operators and media partners, including consumer and travel trade writers and influencers. Industry stakeholders traveled from cities such as Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Venice and more to learn about the territory’s experience, challenges and successes in managing the COVID-19 pandemic and the status of the territory’s accommodations, including the sharing economy, villa and marine sectors.

“The stakeholders we met truly honored us with their presence, interest and confidence in the USVI. We are one of the first long-haul destinations to invest in coming to Italy to engage with these professionals and remind them that a warm welcome awaits pandemic-weary Italian visitors,” Boschulte said.

The Tourism team also educated their Italian colleagues about the territory’s travel screening portal, which has been a critical tool in helping to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the territory.

“As restrictions for Europeans seeking to travel to America begin to ease, the U.S. Virgin Islands wants to ensure that we remain a top-of-mind destination in key markets where we already have strong brand recognition. Our efforts in Milan and beyond are part of a comprehensive, concerted effort to attract more international visitors to our shores,” Boschulte said.

During World Routes 2021, an international conference that brings together decision makers from the global airline route development community, the V.I. delegation held discussions with airline representatives to explore opportunities to grow international arrivals into the territory.

“We experienced strong airlift performance this spring and summer, but we are not resting on our laurels. We must strengthen not only our domestic routes but must also seek opportunities for international carriers to bring guests to the U.S. Virgin Islands, especially the big island of St. Croix,” Boschulte said.

After their business in Italy is concluded, Boschulte and his team intend to travel to Denmark to meet with travel industry stakeholders and members of the U.S. diplomatic community in Copenhagen.