USVI governor promotes economic development
Bevan Springer | 3/30/2017, 1:21 p.m.
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS (March 30, 2017)—U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp wants American and global businesses to know about the fiscal benefits of doing business in the territory.
Mapp told media, meeting planners and members of local government in South Florida this month that there are few jurisdictions on the U.S. mainland offering such generous tax and business incentives as the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“We are about growing and expanding the economy,” said Mapp, speaking at a luncheon during the annual Seatrade Cruise Global event.
Through the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Economic Development Commission’s tax program, eligible companies can qualify for, among other benefits, a 90 percent reduction in both corporate and personal income tax, and a 100 percent exemption on excise tax, property taxes and gross receipts tax. There is no state or territory tax in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“We are focused on becoming the No. 1 destination for visitors and guests in the Caribbean region, and on providing the high levels of safety and security that are so important for folks living in a community, investing in a community, visiting and enjoying themselves in a community.”
During the luncheon, the governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to working with industry partners to provide an authentic and unique visitor experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands, pointing out that travelers these days are looking for more than just sun, sea and sand in a destination.
“They want to come, they want to feel the experience, they want to know they’ve been somewhere different and they want to be motivated and excited that when they go back home to their jobs and to their families and their neighborhoods, they want to be able to really tell the stories of where they were and what they experienced,” he said.
The governor believes that by providing visitors with an opportunity to experience authenticity, “the more we can get our people in the communities to feel uninhibited in showing their culture and their heritage [and] the more memorable and enjoyable an experience the visitor will have.”
He noted that diversity was key and although there is an important segment of the market interested in shopping for luxury items and experiencing the natural beauty of the territory, there is an even larger group interested in the cultural and creative genius of the islands.
“They want to see people making jewelry and other products that are unique to the place they are visiting,” he said.
Mapp, along with Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty, was in South Florida to attend the annual cruise industry convention Seatrade Cruise Global, held at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Seatrade is a multifaceted conference that has been serving the cruise industry for more than 30 years, bringing together industry executives, buyers and suppliers for networking and product sourcing.