Governor Bryan and DSPR Commissioner Calvert White Detail Tourism and Carnival Horse Race Plans

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Governor Albert Bryan Jr. hosted the weekly Government House briefing from Government House on St. Thomas today, highlighting his recent trip to the Sea Trade Global Conference and outlining plans for a tourism summit in July. Governor Bryan was joined by Sports, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Calvert White, who presented details about the upcoming Carnival Rebirth Horse Races on May 3, which will take place at the newly rebuilt Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on St. Thomas.

While at Sea Trade last week, Governor Bryan participated in what he termed “a series of very productive and insightful engagements” with cruise industry partners and with the executive leadership of major cruise lines including Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Holland America, and Princess Caribbean.  

While in years past Governor Bryan discounted the importance of attending the Sea Trade conference, he said he has come to realize that the Sea Trade conference is actually “a cornerstone for future developments in our tourism sector,” particularly when it comes to the US Virgin Islands’ cruise line engagements.  

Governor Bryan called his meetings with cruise line executives “pivotal,” adding, “We exchanged a host of innovative ideas that, if realized, promise exciting prospects for our islands, especially St. Croix.”

Governor Bryan got a firsthand look at how the VI Department of Tourism uses data and analytics to learn where visitors like to go and what they like to do—something that ultimately promotes making better-informed decisions about the improvements needed for the Territory’s tourism product.  

To underscore the importance of cruise travel to the Territory, data provided at Sea Trade revealed that of the over 31 million cruise passengers, the U.S. Virgin Islands was a chosen destination by 5 percent of these travelers.

Governor Bryan acknowledged that tourism forms the backbone of the Territory’s economy, accounting for 70 percent of the USVI’s economic activity.

“The continuous improvements we make to our tourism product are vital,” Governor Bryan said. “They ensure that the U.S. Virgin Islands not only remain competitive but also set the standard in hospitality and service.”

Governor Bryan extended heartfelt congratulations to Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte and the entire team at the Department of Tourism and  commended Carlton Dowe, Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Port Authority, and every member of VIPorts for enhancing the Territory’s ports and tourism infrastructure.  

Speaking of enhancing the Territory’s tourism infrastructure, Governor Bryan said the Territory will host its first-ever Governor’s Tourism Summit in July. This meeting is intended to serve as an industry debrief at the end of the season to analyze what worked and where the Territory needs to improve its tourism product. 

Commissioner Calvert White shared the latest on plans for the St. Thomas Carnival races, which will take place at the Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack on Friday, May 3.  

White thanked the staff of the Department of Sports Parks and Recreation, Southland Gaming and the Virgin Islands Police Department.

Restoring the racetrack, which had remained unused for seven years, meant “starting from the beginning,” White said. The racetrack’s running surface needed work. Equipment was purchased, as was 200 tons of sand.

“It was always DSPR and Southland Gaming’s intention to give the community a better experience than what we previously had,” White said. The grandstands are now three times the size of the original grandstands, and are at an elevated height of 10 ft – giving every seat excellent visibility, he said. A VIP section has been created that can accommodate 100 patrons, there will be seven drink stations, multiple food vendors, as well as metal detectors and scanners.

“Safety is and will always be our number one priority,” White said. Toward that end, whereas in the past tickets could only be purchased onsite, tickets can now be purchased online at Eventbrite, in advance, under “Rebirth of Carnival races.” This way lines will move faster with patrons using their QR codes to gain entry. General admission is $25 and tickets for children under 12 will be $5.

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure, and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government, and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit

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