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Wheatley to Step Down from Tourism Association Post

Jan. 4, 2007 — As part of the new year's changes and initiatives for the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, Luana Wheatley has announced she will be leaving her post as marketing director.
Wheatley, who has been a prominent voice in the Virgin Islands tourism industry for years, said Thursday, "I'm honored that I've had the opportunity to speak for my beautiful islands."
Richard Doumeng, association board chairman, cited changes in the local tourism industry as a factor in eliminating the mainland marketing position, which Wheatley has held for the past two and a half years. She lives in upper New York State.
"The fact is," Doumeng said Thursday afternoon, "the Department of Tourism is now properly functioning as a tourism promoter, doing its job. Last year the hotel association did almost 40 trade shows, and every hotel got represented, whether it was the right market for it or not."
Wheatley, who has been a familiar face in the tourism industry, comes by it naturally. Her aunt is industry icon and longtime tourism commissioner Leona Wheatley. Wheatley's father, the late Calvin Wheatley, guided the West Indian Co. Ltd. public relations from its previous Danish owners through its purchase by the local government and beyond.
Wheatley said Thursday, "I've spent more than a decade promoting the islands, first with Martin Public Relations, and then with the hotel association. I'm fortunate to have had those opportunities.
"I'm also thankful to Commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty for offering me an opportunity to work with the Association. In the position," Wheatley said. "I was able to gain insight into another side of the tourism industry."
Gov. John deJongh, Jr. selected Nicholson Doty as one of his first cabinet officers last January. Her name was synonymous with the hotel association where she had served for 14 years, most of them as director.
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