VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group Take Next Steps to Boost USVI Cruise Industry
VIPA Executive Director and his staff toured the Crown Bay District with Joshua Carroll, Jayne Halcomb and Jonathan Ruiz of Royal Caribbean Group to identify areas for future development.
Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) Executive Director Carlton Dowe and his staff met with Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) officials last week to begin formal negotiations of an agreement between the two entities that will solidify the U.S. Virgin Islands as a premier destination in the Caribbean. RCG’s Vice President of Destination Development and Deployment Joshua Carroll, Director of Business Development for the Americans and Caribbean Jayne Halcomb, and Director of Construction Destination Development Jonathan Ruiz identified specific areas of interest for development in the Crown Bay District. After a discussion of properties, Dowe and his team took RCG for a walking tour of the Crown Bay. The group also established timelines for contract negotiations and plans to conduct meetings and property tours on St. Croix in the upcoming weeks.
VIPA and RCG signed a Memorandum of Understanding in September this year to improve the cruise facilities and increase cruise visits to both St. Thomas and St. Croix. “The signing of the MOU was just the first step of this monumental agreement between VIPA and Royal. This recent meeting between our teams was to perform a deeper dive into the specifics of the agreement terms, discuss in detail the properties we want to develop, and to identify those areas where we may need to do some additional negotiating and possible partnerships to include the Government of the Virgin Islands,” said Director Dowe.
The MOU signed by both parties is a recommitment from Royal Caribbean Group to extend its existing 10-year, pier-use agreement for preferential berthing at VIPA’s cruise facilities in Crown Bay, St. Thomas, and Frederiksted, St. Croix. The existing agreement was executed in June 2016, and by signing the MOU, VIPA and Royal Caribbean Group agree to collaborate on an extension of that agreement for an additional number of years.
In addition to guaranteed minimum revenues to VIPA and increased cruise visits to both St. Thomas and St. Croix, Royal Caribbean Group has expressed an interest in developing enhancements to the cruise facility in Crown Bay and making landside improvements in the Crown Bay District and St. Croix to enhance the island’s tourism products.
About the Virgin Islands Port Authority
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is an autonomous, self-sustaining government agency established in 1969 as the owner and manager of the United States Virgin Island’s airports and seaports. VIPA operates 14 seaports, two airports, and surrounding properties. It is a critical arm of the USVI’s economy that facilitates travel and commerce and fosters tourism and economic growth via its port activities. VIPA’s mandate is to develop and maintain the ports of the USVI to accommodate the current and future demands of our users and to provide safe port facilities. Learn more about VIPA at www.viport.com, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.