As we commemorate World Tourism Day, along with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), we celebrate what digital technology has done and can do for tourism.
Still fresh in our memory is last year's experience when our Territory had to quickly reposition its marketing strategy after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Traditional communications as well as business and marketing strategies could not adequately meet the immediate challenges and rapidly changing dynamics of our recovery. This disruption to marketing as we had known it became an opportunity to create powerful experiences by utilizing modern digital platforms.
USVIupdate.com served as our 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 our post-Hurricane economy. Our social media channel also served as a hub to respond to questions, host interviews and send accurate, real-time information to our followers. These platforms allowed us to share our story with the world.
As small islands with limited tourism budgets to market our destinations, we need to continue being innovative and leverage the technologies at our disposal. This applies not just to government, but to the many hotels and businesses, who 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 our economy, with numerous jobs dependent on them, to showcase their wares directly to potential visitors, to book them online, and 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.
We look forward to sharing the UNWTO's findings on digital advances available for the industry across our respective government departments, our private sector and our educational institutions as we sharpen our skills and equip our young people for jobs and careers in this vital sector to our destination and our region.