Jhaved, a student at Agape Total Life Academy, was the territory’s junior division finalist in the recent Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association essay contest. Participants were asked to write on a theme: “What my destination can do to become more competitive in the global tourism market.”

Tourism is the second revenue generating industry in the Virgin Islands after financial services. We also try to keep tourists coming. Five ways we keep tourists coming are to:

I. Internationally advertise the island’s beauty.

II. Look for what international tourists look for and encourage it.

III. Keep the territory clean.

IV. Internationally advertise restaurants and hotels.

V. Keep crime low.

Whenever I watch the television, read a magazine or surf the Internet, I always see something in another country being advertised: either the beaches, the shops or the restaurants. In my opinion what the VI has to offer is way better than the other countries. We have so many beaches. One of the most popular beaches is Cane Garden Bay. To visit this beach, it is not necessary to pack your vehicle full of supplies, and then struggle to carry the supplies to the beach. There are shops and cafes nearby where you can buy or rent beach supplies such as beach balls, trampolines, jet skis and floaters, just to name a few. Now internationally advertise that, and the VI will have many tourists.

What tourists want

A survey can be carried out to find out what attracts international tourists. There are people who would travel halfway around the world to watch a soccer game. I say if the tourists want soccer, give them soccer. Twenty-five thousand tourists went to the United States to see a drag race. The tourists want drag racing; give them a drag racing tournament. Let’s take a look at the Olympics: People from all over the world go to watch track-and-field games, swimming, races and so many other sporting events. The tourists want Olympics; give them Olympics. Cricket is an international sport. When two teams/countries are competing, they visit one or both teams’ country. The West Indies cricket team is made up of players of the Caribbean islands. The VI is a part of the Caribbean, yet an international match has never been played here. Why? We don’t have the facilities. That’s revenue lost. All I’m saying is, what you know attracts tourists, provide it for them.

Keeping clean

People love a tidy environment, even when they don’t help to keep it clean. The seas are a large attraction to tourists, but so are good roads, litter-free streets and crystal clear water. All of which the VI possesses.

Hotels, restaurants

The VI’s restaurants serve local, regional and international dishes. I don’t see hotels, restaurants and resorts advertised on the television and Internet as much as they can be. If the VI advertised the Treasure Isle Hotel, with its luxurious pool and dining area and room services — or even the Seven Jewels Manor in Virgin Gorda, which is beach convenient and still has a pool — that, with the things mentioned above, will certainly attract attention.

Keep crime low

Also, why not promote the territory’s low crime rate, which I’m sure is second to none? That’s why this paradise is called Nature’s Little Secrets. Don’t you think this would attract tourists? I sure do.