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Aug. 14, 2001 — A private-sector business group tired of seeing St. Croix – and Frederiksted in particular – lose more business is planning to form its own marketing team.
The move by the Frederiksted Economic Development Association was announced this week in response to recent news that St. Croix will have about 50 fewer cruise ship calls during the upcoming winter season compared to last season. Cruise arrivals will drop from 154 to 103 in 2000-01. This is mainly because the Holland America line has discontinued the island as part of its itinerary and because the Nordic Empress will call every other week rather than weekly, according to the West Indian Company Ltd.
But according to cruise line industry officials, the cutback in St. Croix cruise ship calls occurred mainly because there has been no marketing of the Big Island by the V.I. government.
Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, said in a previous Source story that member cruise lines "need to get information, they need to be encouraged by what St. Croix is doing and what St. Croix is willing to do. St. Croix needs to have a marketing marquee for themselves and not just be in the shadow of St. Thomas."
And that has spurred Frederiksted business owners to act, said Hugh Dalton, FEDA vice president.
"FEDA and I can no longer sit by and watch St. Croix crumble because of no marketing direction and lack of business development," Dalton said. "No one else seems to want to step forward . . . to fill that void for Frederiksted and St. Croix."
Dalton said FEDA will attempt to combine existing marketing tools on St. Croix and input from interested organizations to develop a course of action. He said the lack of cruise ship calls must be offset by other projects, including the prospects within the V.I. Port Authority’s economic development plan.
"The planning has already been done," Dalton said, "it’s the action that is missing. Hopefully the government will offer their resources to our efforts."
The aim is to minimize the revenue deficits that exist between St. Croix and St. Thomas, Dalton said. He said increases in cruise ship calls to St. Thomas will generate about $700 million in economic development for St. Thomas between 2001 and 2006 while St. Croix could lose $200 million during the same period.
Unise Tranberg, FEDA president, said "I’ve always said no one in government is looking out for the St. Croix interests and now we have to do something."
FEDA will hold a meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Frederiksted at Pier 69.
The 2001-02 cruise season opens on St. Croix with the arrival of the Infinity on Oct. 14.

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