Continuing our series of interviews around the Caribbean, today we interviewed Joseph Boschulte Commissioner of Tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands about COVID 19 and what life is like on the islands. The Governor of USVI issued a state of emergency for 30 days around the time cruise ships stopped operating and people have been encouraged to practice social distancing. The island will remain closed to travelers of all kinds until at least late April.
In an effort to help promote social distancing, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals has hosted online social gatherings they’re calling ‘Home Wuk’.
Let’s try to do something different and let’s make it virtual
What is Home Wuk?
U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals is used to planning Carnival, but they’ve pivoted to digital gatherings with their new project ‘Home Wuk’. The first one was held on Saturday March 28 and featured a performance from DJ Avalanche, a popular Caribbean musician. Thousands of people tuned in to the more than two hour performance and the live stream was shared hundreds of times on Facebook.
St. Thomas is the most popular destination in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with around 400 ships calling on Charlotte Amelia each year. A return to normal tourism and cruising operations would be a welcome relief to the island. The cruise port is full most months of the year with stores selling jewelry, watches, and fine leather goods from international luxury brands.
Mr. Boschulte explained that islands have all gone through periods where tourism dips, but people will always come back to the Caribbean.