U.S. Virgin Islands Department Of Tourism Saturates Central Florida With High-Profile Events

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands – In keeping with its strategy to target potential visitors in key geographic markets, the Department of Tourism takes to the road to promote the accessibility, value and unique offerings of a getaway to the US Virgin Islands.

Central Florida (Orlando) has been established as a key feeder market for travel to the USVI based on data from airlines that provide service to the Territory. The DOT will focus on creating a Virgin Islands Experience in Florida to include– Quelbe Music by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights, and quadrille performed by the St. Croix Heritage Dancers. Activities will also include Carnival Dancers and Mocko Jumbie performances.

This showcase of Virgin Islands Entertainment will take place at the Villages, a Premier Retirement Community, on Friday May 14. More than 25 Virgin Islanders who live in the Villages Community will be on hand to support the events.

“This upscale community with more than 60,000 residents offers an important opportunity to target consumers with the means and time to travel. The concept of targeting the Villages was introduced to the DOT by long time hotelier Dick Doumeng who himself is a part-time resident at the community.

On Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16 the U.S. Virgin Islands will take over the popular Orlando shopping complex, The Florida Mall—one of the highest-traffic retail locations in the area. Shoppers will be invited to experience the sights and sounds of the U.S. Virgin Islands as they move to the sounds of traditional steel pan music and perfect their dance moves alongside authentic Carnival dancers. Shoppers will also be encouraged to take advantage of a special package available to Florida residents and have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a summer getaway to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Created exclusively for this sales blitz (beginning May 13 and ending May 19), the DOT will promote the specially created “Rediscover Summer” offer. This exclusive travel package was developed to stimulate bookings among Central Florida residents and increase on-island spend. It features rich, added-value components for consumers, including a $300 air credit and certificates towards shopping and dining at on-island businesses. The “Rediscover Summer” offer will be available through a long-established USVI tour operator partner. The booking window is May 9 – 29 with a travel window of May 15 – July 17, 2010. By targeting efforts with a single partner and a relatively short booking window, the DOT will be able to measure the immediate return on investment of the week’s activities. This approach builds upon the DOT’s successful in-market efforts in Atlanta last year where the consumer offer was available through multiple channels. Although information from the DOT’s key airline partner in Atlanta indicated significant YOY growth in the months following the Atlanta activities, the DOT’s goal for Orlando is to create a mechanism to measure results even more precisely.

The Department’s activities are timed to coincide with the 2010 International Pow Wow Convention – a leading travel industry event attended by airline, cruise and hotel executives from around the world – which provides the opportunity to reach travel industry professionals who will be in Orlando to attend the show. Not only will the Territory be a featured exhibitor, the DOT will participate in a media marketplace event, providing the opportunity to meet with national and international media attending the show.

The activities will also include a Department of Tourism-hosted reception for the area’s top travel agents, where the DOT will share the latest destination highlights and promote its “Rediscover Summer” offer. Seven hotel partners will join the DOT (Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Chenay Bay, Divi Carina Bay, Frenchman’s Reef & Morningstar Marriott Beach Resort, Secret Harbour and Windward Passage) to share news updates on their properties.

In addition, Commissioner Beverly-Nicholson Doty will host an intimate dinner with leading Orlando press to seed future editorial opportunities by showcasing the destination’s value, accessibility and key attributes as a “must-visit” in 2010. More than a half dozen travel writers from target outlets such as Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, ISLANDS, the Orlando Sentinel and Caribbean Travel & Life are slated to attend.

“The destination’s presence in Orlando serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment to promoting the Territory to potential visitors from our key feeder markets,” says Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “Our comprehensive marketing initiatives such as this one to Orlando ensure that the destination is top-of-mind with potential visitors and that key industry professionals have all the tools needed to drive visitation to our islands in the coming year.”

To generate overall exposure for the Territory and secure high attendance to the planned consumer events, the Department of Tourism is conducting aggressive outreach to Orlando-based media and is implementing a dedicated advertising campaign, which is inclusive of print and broadcast buys, the advertising features radio spots on classic R&B station WCFB-FM and rock station WHTQ-FM, and exposure in local newspapers the Orlando Sentinel and The Villages Daily Sun.

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