Tourism is a major industry in the islands. Two point one million tourists visit the islands every year on cruise ships. They arrive and stay overnight on the ships and spend just a single day on shore. In addition there are an annually 500,000 bed-nights in the islands’ hotels, and there are great possibilities for developing the influx of such tourists, who stay for several days.
Supporting and nursing a new branch of produce of good quality and design is a potential for The Islands, as creative resources are available.
The need for developing of new attractions that are sustainable and serious dissemination of the interesting history of the Islands are also needed to attract tourists within the cultural sector.
A great potential for development remains in the building sector where the historic fabric of the towns and plantations needs reprogramming and revitalization.
The large plant for oil refinery at St. Croix has the potential for waste management, and the desalination of seawater. The issue of how to change the focus of the Islands energy supply is a large challenge after the closing of Hovensa Oil Refinery.
In the production of spirits it has proven possible to attract other kinds of production than the local rum production. The local government, by supporting the producers with guaranteed prices for the raw materials, has managed to attract a large manufacturer of spirits in recent years.
Conditions individually on the three islands differ greatly.
St. Thomas has the advantage of housing the Government and the central administration, and receives most revenue from tourists.
St. John is 60% owned and protected as a nature reserve by the National Park Service. The remaining area is a holiday paradise for rich Americans.
St. Croix has great tourism potential with its white beaches, beautiful towns and landscapes as well as the many ruined plantations and its interesting history.