When he visited the territory in March, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester

stopped in to the jewellery and gift shop Little Denmark to do some shopping.

In the recent high tourism season, which saw an estimated 18 percent drop in the number of cruise ships making port calls in the Virgin Islands, jewellery stores were grateful for any customers they receive, royal or not.

Two retailers that depend heavily on the cruise ship business – A.H. Riise and Colombian Emeralds – closed their VI locations last month.

Eileen Bourke, the general manager of the VI’s Colombian Emeralds store, said yesterday that the worldwide recession reduced spending across the board for all of her customers: residents, overnight guests and cruise passengers.

But when the company heard last year that ships from Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises had suspended their Tortola port calls, it was a “huge factor” in the decision to shutter the Wickhams Cay I store in favour of a St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands location, Ms. Bourke said.


See the May 3, 2012 edition for full coverage.