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Sunday, July 3, 2022


When the nomination of local businessman Michael Bornn as commissioner of the Department of Tourism was reported by St. Thomas Source on Wednesday, it brought a flurry of excitement to the public and private sectors, overwhelming support for Bornn and a wave of hope for the future of the territory.
Edward E. Thomas, president and CEO of The West Indian Company Ltd., said, "I'm delighted to know the governor has named Michael Bornn to be the next commissioner of tourism."
Thomas said he has known Bornn for a number of years and they have exchanged ideas on economics, economic development, tourism and related subjects. "I have already spoken to Michael and have pledged this company would give him 100 percent support so we can bring back a strong tourism product to the territory."
Joseph Aubain, president of St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, said he was looking forward to working with Bornn. "He will bring a lot of enthusiasm, ideas and a positive direction to the islands. It will be an exciting opportunity for tourism."
Realtor William R. Otto of David Jones Real Estate was equally impressed with the nomination, saying, "Michael's business background and his willingness to work for the community and the people of the Virgin Islands will make him a very proactive commissioner. I look for a new, revitalized tourism department."
Even retailers hailed the nomination. Sunil Mohanani of Chalet D'or in downtown Charlotte Amalie said, "Michael is just what we need. He knows and understands this market and I will support him. It's a wonderful move."
On St. Croix, the news was received with equal enthusiasm. Noel Loftus, chairman of the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce, said that while Chamber board members have not yet taken an official position, he expects very little opposition at the next board meeting, on August 12.
"We have not yet met as a group," said Loftus, "but some directors have called me with a very favorable reaction to the news." Loftus noted that having someone from the private sector in the top seat at Tourism was very unusual."Personally, I'm ecstatic," he said. "I'm very favorably impressed with Mr. Bornn and look forward to working with him."
Sen. Lorraine Berry said Bornn was an excellent choice for many reasons. "He contacted me when he was nominated," she said. "He wanted me to know about it and wanted to be prepared for the budget hearing." The senator cited Bornn's background as his strong point. "He's very conscientious and already has many goals and objectives for the department. He has the background to fill his position as chairman of IDC and the Port Authority."
James Armour of Armour Enterprises was equally supportive of the nomination. He said Bornn was the best choice the governor could have made. "He's been here all his life, knows the islands well, participates in the community and just getting the America's Cup Challenge off the ground is reflective of his knowledge of tourism."
Sen. Berry also noted Bornn was an experienced traveler. "He's been exposed to how many other countries attract their visitors and he knows the marine industry needs to be maximized as a balance to tourism. He will bring a wealth of experience to the job."
Bornn is currently off island on his honeymoon. He assumes the position of
Acting Commissioner on August 9 and has assured Sen. Berry he will be prepared for the budget hearings on August 11.

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