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Wednesday, February 28, 2024


April 20, 2001 – The online travel industry grew from $943 million in August of last year to $1.2 billion by January, according to a report from eMarketer, quoting data from Nielsen/NetRatings and Harris Interactive.
It's a trend that Virgin Islands tourism stakeholders are watching closely. But, so far, they can't take full advantage of it.
The Tourism Department's web site, months in the making, is still not accessible.
However, "We're almost there," Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards said this week. She expects to have the last details ironed out and the site operational in a matter of weeks.
"The problem is not the payment," she said. "The checks are cut. We are holding onto the checks until the contractual agreements are in place."
IBM designed the web site under a contract with the government. It has been posted, but it can't be accessed yet by the public because the original agreement did not address two issues that must be resolved: who will be responsible for hosting the site and for maintaining it.
A separate contract has been drafted providing for IBM to host the site. Richards said the Tourism, Property and Procurement, and Justice Departments have signed off on it.
Still making its way through channels is an addendum that IBM submitted to the original contract which provides that Tourism will be responsible for maintaining the site — that is, for updating the information displayed on it. Two Tourism employees are being trained to do the work so that the site will always be current, Richards said.
"The cost hasn't changed," she said. The project price is still "over $500,000."

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