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Country Highlights

Virgin Islands (U.S.): Economic Impact of Tourism

Tourism sector of Virgin Islands (U.S.) is the primary driver of the Virgin Islands’ economy, accounting for approximately 80% of GDP and employment. Over 2.5 million visitors flock to the idyllic islands annually, supporting a thriving hospitality sector centered around luxury resorts, hotels, villas, restaurants, charters and tours.

The hotel industry alone contributes over $500 million to the local economy each year. Major resorts and smaller boutique properties report high occupancy year-round, especially during the winter high season. Hotel development continues actively—with over 1,000 additional rooms under construction recently. Expanding hotel capacity promotes further tourism growth.

Cruise ships also pour visitors into the Virgin Islands- with over 2 million arrivals annually. Cruise passenger spending contributes nearly $200 million. Retail, restaurant, tour providers and transportation services all benefit directly from cruisers.

The investment in renewable energy within Virgin Islands can help reduce the cost of energy and increase energy security which is essential for the territory’s economic growth. The USVI offers many opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs who seek a politically stable location with excellent investment security and legitimate protection of their assets from taxes.

Beyond hotels and cruises, tourism supports countless jobs and businesses in water sports, marinas, dive shops, fishing charters, boutiques, galleries, grocery stores, taxis and rental cars. The breadth of this economic footprint makes tourism indispensable.

Due to the dependence on tourism, it also carries risk— as the islands’ economy is vulnerable to external shocks. Devastating hurricanes in 2017 and the COVID-19 pandemic both triggered tourism collapses that contracted the Virgin Islands economy severely. Diversification into other sectors would increase economic resilience.

To capitalize on the opportunities and address the challenges— the territorial government should focus on improving job creation, diversifying the economy and fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors. Additionally— the U.S. Virgin Islands can continue to invest in tourism infrastructure and marketing to attract more visitors and support the growth of related industries.

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Featured Reports

Understand the macroeconomic situations that affect the global positioning of countries.

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