Earlier this month, The Caribbean Journal released their 2021 Caribbean Travel Awards. And the USVI has received recognition in, not one, but two of the top spots of the 20 categories.
The renowned Caribbean travel magazine posted their 2021 top picks with an amazing intro written by their editor in chief on December 14. Alexander Britell ponders the importance of tourism in the Caribbean and the resiliency of many islands in the region that have been forced to close their doors to their financial lifeline this year. Also, noting the importance of travel and “that next trip” in the lives of travel hungry aficionados around the world who are also impacted by this global pandemic.
The Editor in Chief notes that many territories began re-opening protocol in June and did not make that decision lightly. The fine line between a balance of a health economy and protection of the health of residents with a fragile healthcare infrastructure is a hard line to walk. But, he lends applause to a region that so frequently needs to embrace flexibility and resiliency in its game plan. And their inclusion of this in their plan and execution of a re-opening to tourism and travelers.
“It was not an easy decision, nor was it without risk. But the region largely had no choice.
And for nearly half the year, the vast majority of the Caribbean has been, in some form or another, open again for travel for those willing to do so.
And in six months, the Caribbean has largely set a global example for how to reopen in a careful, focused, safe manner — providing its signature sanctuary for travelers and an important injection of economic energy.
And that’s in large part, not because it’s the most beautiful place on earth — but because it’s the most resilient place on earth, thanks to a universe of people who prove time after time, year after year, storm after storm, that nothing can stop them.”
In the spirit of this, the USVI has been recognized as the number one Caribbean Travel Destination in the journal’s seventh annual Caribbean Travel Awards.
The journal applauds the USVI for the integration of a region leading travel portal after two shut downs in six months, citing the tri-island territory with “helping to pave the way for the broader reopening of the entire Caribbean.” They add that the travel portal has become a model for many other tourism re-openings around the region.
Additionally, the Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas took the award for Caribbean Hotel of the Year. The property had just completed a $100 million remodel just prior to the pandemic and held on through the two COVID inspired closures in the territory.
“When it reopened in June, the property quickly demonstrated that delivering a high-level luxury experience was possible amid the new realities of travel — and setting a new standard for health, safety and Caribbean hospitality in the process. ”
In a time where global travel is not necessarily accessible, Britlell urges those who are willing to travel to support the islands in this region that have worked hard to open their doors to tourism once again.
“So even in a year of impossibilities, the Caribbean is back, navigating its way through the challenges of the new age of travel, an essential task for the most tourism-dependent regional economy in the world.
But what that also means is that, now more than ever, we must continue to celebrate this region, celebrate its people and celebrate what remains the greatest travel destination on earth.”