CHARLOTTE AMALIE: Following its successful hosting of a four-day bridal symposium in St. Thomas last week, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Tourism has reported renewed interest in the U.S. territory as a prime destination for weddings.
During the U.S. Virgin Islands Bridal Symposium, travel sellers utilized destination updates and promotions to market the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.
“The weddings and honeymoon market is big business for us and has great growth potential,” said Commissioner of Tourism, Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
She also said the symposium showcased the diverse product of the islands while providing an opportunity for industry influencers to network with their local counterparts.
The symposium attracted more than 60 attendees, including visiting journalists, wedding experts, travel agents specializing in destination weddings as well as local wedding industry professionals.
Sessions were moderated by celebrity television host, Mar Jennings, with discussions focused on business trends, wedding planning secrets, the benefits of bridal shows, post-wedding etiquette and how to make a destination wedding a seamless event.
Expert speakers included Millie Martini Bratten, a former executive of Brides Magazine; celebrity wedding planner, Samantha Goldberg; Jacqueline Johnson of the U.S.-based Global Bridal Group and MarryCaribbean.com; Julia and Richard Markel of the Association for Wedding Professionals International; Anna Post of Emily Post Institute; Brenda O’Neale, Founder and President of With This Ring Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Travel Agency; and motivational speaker, Simon T. Bailey.
“The USVI Bridal Symposium has been by far one of the best educational experiences for travel consultants in the destination weddings and honeymoon market,” said Cheryl Jones of Lez Go Travel in Atlanta.
Richard Markel of the Association for Wedding Professionals International described the U.S. Virgin Islands as “an awesome location for weddings and wedding professionals to do their business. We will definitely spread the word. The warmth of the people adds so much to the atmosphere.”
Due to the success of the event, a second U.S. Virgin Islands Bridal Symposium is being planned for next year, in St. Croix.