Along with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Virgin Islands Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates what digital technology has done and can do for tourism.
Last year’s experience when the territory had to quickly reposition its marketing strategy after hurricanes Irma and Maria is still fresh in the memory.
Traditional communications as well as business and marketing strategies could not adequately meet the immediate challenges and rapidly changing dynamics of the territory’s recovery. This disruption to marketing as it had been practiced became an opportunity to create powerful experiences by utilizing modern digital platforms, according to Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
WWW.USVIupdate.com served as DOT’s informational gateway before, during and after the storms. It has now been transformed and serves as a go-to site for the latest developments in the post-hurricane economy. DOT’s social media channel also serves as a hub to respond to questions, host interviews and send accurate, real-time information to followers. These platforms have allowed the Virgin Islands to share its story with the world.
According to Nicholson-Doty, as small islands with limited tourism budgets to market destinations, the DOT must continue being innovative and leveraging the technologies at its disposal. This applies not just to government but to the many hotels and businesses that do not have the resources for major advertising campaigns. While digital advertising is not free, its affordability allows even the smallest business to compete on a global level.
Digital technology allows these very important movers in the economy, with numerous jobs dependent on them, to showcase their wares directly to potential visitors, to book them online, and to handle their requests and queries. It allows them to keep abreast of the latest products and market information and, at this time of the year, to track the weather forecasts.
DOT looks forward to sharing the UNWTO’s findings on digital advances available for the industry across government departments, the territory’s private sector and educational institutions as it sharpens skills and equips young people for jobs and careers in the vital tourism sector.