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Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Poorthang,

Really you want me to give you the occupancy rate for all the hotels on the island. Why don't you call and ask. I can tell you downtown, most are full or close to it. Not counting King's Alley as that is govt owned and they do whatever they want to which is usually nothing. Who is closing down?? One of the tiny Bed and Breakfasts? Which are really just a moderate size houses? The charter brings in at least 500 rooms a week to st croix. The largest hotel on island is around 120s, mosts are in the 30 to 60 range. We don't need the Danes to fill up the whole hotel just the gaps. That many danes do it very very well.

But I guess you really just hate being wrong, instead realizing this is a good thing. Will it save St Croix? That is doubtful, but is it a small thing to the local hotel, restaurants and excursions? No, it is a big deal or at the very least a very very good thing.

Or you can just keep crying about how no one is doing anything, because that's really helping out.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 2:45 am
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

Aussie, yes he is wrong, The Dept of Tourism had ZERO to do with getting the charter here, why would he know anything??? Didn't realize it would be shocking that someone running for senate doesn't know what they are talking about. But you are just reposting a rumor that is wrong. Obviously he had very little in the way of facts, but had no problem talking out of his...

60,000,000 are you talking about the casino Happy face? That was a EXTREME long shot. And so full of holes if you did ever hear the details about the possible casino downtown you would have know there was no way it was going to happen. And yes I know a lot more then you do Happy about Tourism.

Brad? Talk out of his @ss? HA! It wouldn't be the first time. 🙂

I attended the meeting with tourism so I guess it's your call as to whether I'm spreading rumors. I am, nonetheless, pleased to hear that it's not true. Thanks!

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Posted : January 31, 2012 2:51 am
HappyFace
(@HappyFace)
Advanced Member

60,000,000. is the revenue lost by hovensas departure. Tourism is not going to make up or even put a dent in that loss. Unless you have some secret that we don't know about LOL! Oh I would Like to hear about your expertise on the casino/hotel/office development that didn't happen and why it didn't happen, or will it happen by resurrection of well qualified investors and a Govt that understands how to make things happen. What kinda holes in the development did the developers miss.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:03 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Aussie I'm sorry I unloaded on you. It just get frustrating to hear people claim the hotels are doing enough. Granted some are not working as hard as they should but that is in any field of business. The slackers will mostly loose out. We are working hard to make this charter be successful and it is sometimes like pulling teeth getting Some, just some, to want to make money. You know the old saying you can lead a camel to water but you can't make him drink. But all in all it is going well and the Danes & the local business seem to be mostly very happy.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:07 am
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

Aussie I'm sorry I unloaded on you. It just get frustrating to hear people claim the hotels are doing enough. Granted some are not working as hard as they should but that is in any field of business. The slackers will mostly loose out. We are working hard to make this charter be successful and it is sometimes like pulling teeth getting Some, just some, to want to make money. You know the old saying you can lead a camel to water but you can't make him drink. But all in all it is going well and the Danes & the local business seem to be mostly very happy.

No worries, Hiya!

The Danish Charter is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal landscape at the moment. Brad also announced that a German Charter is in the works. Any truth to that?

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:16 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Happyface, tourism does not need to replace the revenue lost by losing Hovensa. Based on the sized of our population and land mass the amount of money the local govt claims it needs is at least quadruple to anything similar place stateside. Things are more expensive here but not that much! We have so MUCH waste and graft that in a way this could be a very good thing. If the govt has to tighten their belt perhaps we will loose most of the thieves or can at least hope so. These islands need change badly. I wouldn't want and I wouldn't advise anyone to relocate here right now but I'm not unhappy about a major change.

As far as the casino, there were so many holes, there was no doubt in my mind it was a joke. They had room to build the casino but not a hotel. To build a casino here the govt requires you have x amount of rooms, they couldn't do and were planning on trying to use rooms as other hotels. And that is just the tiny tip of the iceburg. I'm sorry that my knowledge offends, I'll try not to inform you in the future.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:17 am
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Aussie, I'm sorry I don't know who's trying to organize a German one, the Bravo company is a world wide company. I'll ask the Bravo guys if they have anything to do with it.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:19 am
HappyFace
(@HappyFace)
Advanced Member

Hiya,
You really don't have to inform me. Your lack of knowledge and attitude says it all.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:49 am
poorthang
(@poorthang)
Advanced Member

Hiya...Take a look at this board on who is closing.The restaurants are being devastated for starters.Your downtown crowd of Danes ain't helping save those are they?Your obviously in the pocket of the charter so you don't have a dog in the whole island fight .Ask our friendly Realtors if the Danes are buying anything beside trinkets.The occupancy rates should be something the tourism board(and your vast insider info) should keep data on.I guess I could link up to see if they do.I'll do some more leg work and see if it's available.I'm not poo pooing good news I know this place can do better .

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Posted : January 31, 2012 6:14 am
Bushtea
(@Bushtea)
Active Member

@coolchica27 - once upon a time tourism wasn't laughable on STX - it thrived and was growing. There were wonderful shops and restaurants in F'sted and C'sted. But in the 60's along came heavy industry and voila! a new god was born. Since every man has his price, all of us, directly or indirectly, eventually bowed to it.

It became so overpowering that other sources of income paled. Like what happens to the mom & pop stores when a Big Box comes to town. The little ones don't stand a chance.

So tourism fell to the wayside. Crucians (not all, but all it takes is a few) occasionally let their manners slip a bit. The one or two bad mangoes may have unfairly cast spoilage on all of us.

Now, there are ways and means to overcome the loss of El Dorado. It will take time and a calculated and measured approach. The problem gets broken into small pieces and we attack those shards. This generation may not see the full and direct benefits of this recovery, that might be the reward for the generation behind us. And we must train them well (each one teach one and all that). And maybe because we live in such a instant gratification society, many won't or can't wait for this to happen. I understand. Time marches on. So be it.

Problem solving (WAPA, LEAC, the bloated and useless senate, crime, schools in disrepair, dysfunctional economic society... hey, let's heap it on) can be straightened out. A marvelous "how-to" manual is... stop me if I wrote this before... called "Organizing for Social Change" . Amazon it. It's like The Art of War for social activists sans violence. All brainpower here.

Another gem (much smaller, faster to read and digest, and will provide a resounding, "OMG!") is Robert Hoffman's book, "Annals of the Big Island" available everywhere. Read this and discover the origins of our dilemma. Many who have read it refuse to believe it. They chuups it, then go back and secretly read it again. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts.

Anyway, tt's a cheerfully written little book, but it packs a serious punch. Should be mandatory reading in ALL schools (IMHO). After reading you can finally say, "I have met the enemy, and the enemy is us".

Oh, you ask if I ever met a Crucian. I guess so, once or twice. And let's see... I've only been here since 1959.... What does that make me?

Anyway, thanks for listening and have a great day.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 10:25 am
onthespot
(@onthespot)
Advanced Member

Wouldn't it be great if the cruise ships dropped off the people for a days or a week, and then came back and picked them up, sort of like a bus? THAT would tenfold the positive economic impact on islands without costing the cruise ships too much more.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:13 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Like the Disney cruise that drops people off at DisneyWorld. 🙂

I think part of the appeal for cruisers though is getting to see a lot of islands in a short amount of time - and spending time on the boat. It's a "bang for the buck" sort of thing. Like all-inclusive resorts.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:17 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

Cruise companies don't want ppl spending $$$ anywhere but on their ships, which is why they work so hard to orchestrate all their passengers' excursions. They take a BIG cut and leave so little for excursion operators. Attracting ships has long-term benefits but little meaningful short-term value.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:31 pm
HappyFace
(@HappyFace)
Advanced Member

Jet Blue is putting together vacation packages to ST Croix in partnership with the Divi. (Casino Available)

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Posted : January 31, 2012 3:37 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

Attracting ships has long-term benefits but little meaningful short-term value.

Well, if I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong. 😀

Taxi drivers, restaurants, store owners, vendors, entertainers, and dive shops are among those directly impacted by a loss of ships. Momentum is not easily regained. Given the state our economy is in, these losses must certainly be deemed as meaningful.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 4:00 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

Jet Blue is putting together vacation packages to ST Croix in partnership with the Divi. (Casino Available)

I hope they add to their routes then - from Austin for example you can only get to STT on JetBlue. Then you'd have to take the seaplane to STX.

They've done a lot for the routes they fly though - I know that a lot of Austin people use them to fly to the Bahamas and other Caribbean destinations.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 4:10 pm
SunnyCaribe
(@SunnyCaribe)
Advanced Member

Aussie, I was responding to Onthespot who was pondering the possibility of cruise ships dropping ppl off for extended stays. They wouldn't.

But since you brought it up, ask a dive shop (or safari operator, or any excursion operator) how their margins compare between cruisies and vacationers. You couldn't fit enough ships on 3 islands 24/7/365 to overcome the loss of Hovensa revenue.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 4:18 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

Aussie, I was responding to Onthespot who was pondering the possibility of cruise ships dropping ppl off for extended stays. They wouldn't.

But since you brought it up, ask a dive shop (or safari operator, or any excursion operator) how their margins compare between cruisies and vacationers. You couldn't fit enough ships on 3 islands 24/7/365 to overcome the loss of Hovensa revenue.

I understand. The cruise lines are all about money and they like to keep most of it.

For businesses that are struggling though, that extra income can make all the difference in the world. Ask Sand Castles, Rainbow beach, the folks at Cane Bay, and Polly's by the Pier if the loss of ships is meaningful. Ask the taxi drivers that take cruise ship passengers in large numbers from F'sted to C'sted if the loss of cruise ships is meaningful. Ask the mocko jumbies and street performers who are being paid $50/hour if the loss is meaningful. Ask the west end dive shops, the street vendors, and the store owners the same question.

The ships contribute far less to this economy than Hovensa did. They do/did make a difference though.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 4:38 pm
aerobum
(@aerobum)
Advanced Member

Will NEVER happen with cruise ships. As it is they do all they can to get customers to spend as much of their wallet ON THE SHIP. This is why I've been harping about the need to get more discount air carriers to fly straight into STX. It would help with the obscenely high American Eagle flight (or whatever takes their place landing at THE MOST EXPENSIVE airport in the U.S.) costs for residents and more importantly fill the hotels consistently year round. Separately someone is going to have to open a 'customer service institute' on island and since local businesses haven't figured this out this is one area that would be a smart investment by the government.

Wouldn't it be great if the cruise ships dropped off the people for a days or a week, and then came back and picked them up, sort of like a bus? THAT would tenfold the positive economic impact on islands without costing the cruise ships too much more.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 5:23 pm
jbatl
(@jbatl)
Advanced Member

This is why I've been harping about the need to get more discount air carriers to fly straight into STX. It would help with the obscenely high American Eagle flight (or whatever takes their place landing at THE MOST EXPENSIVE airport in the U.S.) costs for residents and more importantly fill the hotels consistently year round.

Have you heard Jet Blue is flying to STX from STJ and undercutting Am Eagle by easily 50 percent or more?

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Posted : January 31, 2012 6:35 pm
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Poorthang do you know any business owners downtown? With the exception of retailers (which is not a good idea on stx in the best of times) are being definitely being helped by Danes. Yes Bacchaus closed. The new owners just didn't really know what their where doing and of coarse as usual there were "other" problems.

And no the Danes aren't buying houses. But that's a poorly thought through complaint. A extremely small percent of our tourist of any nationality buy property. That is more for those who relocate. Occupancy rate are not available on any website or board. The hotels on island do not share info like that and even when it's done stateside hotels usually lie to their competitors.

I have no idea what your problem your problem is with someone knowing something but apparently only you can have all the answers about a field you know nothing about. For someone who is not "poo pooing" things....well that seems to be all you are doing. You seem very angry that the charter is doing some good. As I said before it's not going to save stx, but it has done a lot of good for many business. Some people just want to be angry.

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Posted : January 31, 2012 6:36 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I don't know that I agree with the restaurants being devastated - when we go out, all the restaurants we go to are full (edited to add - or semi-full. Some downtown aren't full at night). There are reservations too - we've had to wait for tables, or at the least not been able to get the table that we want.

Last night I went out and went by Cheeseburger's and it was pretty darn full for a Monday night. The bar by Ziggy's (Topsiders, right?) was so full people were parking in the Ziggy's parking lot and on the other side of the street.

This is just my observation so far - what I see are the restaurants here have a hard time from 1) high energy prices but also 2) rumors and "reviews." This is a small island and like others have mentioned on here - news travels fast. Rumors travel faster. And then when a restaurant owner comes on a board like this one to promote their business, or to correct a rumor, sometimes they're rebuked for it.

Places do close down - restaurants are a really tight margin business anywhere. But I would really hesitate to point to one key factor as the one reason for any restaurant closing on island - it's usually multiple reasons.

And yes, who knows what the next six months hold for STX. But I would hate to be a restaurant owner constantly having to defend the integrity of my business, food, and customer base against rumors or "reviews." I think that showing more support for our local restaurants and less time wondering about the ones that are being "devastated" would be very helpful.

My thoughts, respectfully submitted. 🙂

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Posted : January 31, 2012 6:48 pm
aerobum
(@aerobum)
Advanced Member

Yes, that's a great start but more flights from more cities and carriers (e.g, Southwest, Frontier, etc.) are needed. In particular this time of the year flights from cold places like Denver, Boston, etc. combined with some marketing from the Tourism board would be most effective. If they want to be really effective they could work with the cruise lines and create deals where people vacate on island for a few days, hop on a cruise ship in F'sted, see some islands, and come back after a few days for their return flight.

This is why I've been harping about the need to get more discount air carriers to fly straight into STX. It would help with the obscenely high American Eagle flight (or whatever takes their place landing at THE MOST EXPENSIVE airport in the U.S.) costs for residents and more importantly fill the hotels consistently year round.

Have you heard Jet Blue is flying to STX from STJ and undercutting Am Eagle by easily 50 percent or more?

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Posted : January 31, 2012 8:42 pm
longislandAl
(@longislandAl)
Active Member

As someone who has been trying for past 5 years to convince my wife that we move to St. Croix and set up a small business I must say I was quite dismayed to learn of the Hovensa closing. The immediate impact it evidently will have on the island's economy and its residents is to say the least devasting and also seems to validate my wife's protestations towards my suggestion.

I have been following the threads regarding this subject matter with great interest and am impressed by the number of positive attitudes and suggestions being tendered to alleviate the blow delivered by Hovensa's board of directors. It gives me hope that the citizen's of St. Croix will ultimately prevail just as they had when the watchmaking industry pulled their plug.

The rebuilding of the Frederiksted pier and resumption of cruise ship activity was one small step forward. The climate, the island's beauty and the diverse activities available are assets that must be taken advantage of as tourism can certainly help shore up the local economy. I agree with the posts that the island must attract tourism of longer durations than port calls. Cruise ship passengers tend not to dine at local eateries as they get their fill on board ship. Longer term tourists will frequent restaurants daily or purchase foodstuffs to prepare at home should they be staying at villas or condos. Frequent flights at reasonable rates does seem to be the better solution in attracting the long term vacationer, however given American Airlines recent bankruptcy the prospect of them increasing the number of flights seems slim at best as they will be looking to cut those destinations that yield smaller profit margins. I think a more propitious option would be to form a cooperative between the hotels, local chamber of commerce, tourism board and/or VI government for the purpose of creating its own charter airline (Solace Airways). Arrange to purchase/lease at least 2 aircraft and file for daily direct flights from Miami at 3 to 6 hour intervals. The profits generated by the flights will hopefully allow this cooperative to be self sustaining once initial investments are returned to its contributing members.

The power grid must be sustained and LNG appears to be the most cost effective and least polluting source of energy to run that grid. Conversion of Hovensa to an LNG storage facility and provider seems to be the most logical fate for that facility and could probably be done at minimal expense. Alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind can also assist in minimizing utility costs to the island's residents. Here on the Long Island the government and utility companies put their emphasis on large scale offshore wind farms which are quite expensive to build and their proposals consistently meet opposition by environmentalists. I believe an industrious individual might be able to better serve the general public by scaling down the size of helical wind turbines so that they can be installed commercially on individual residences and businesses. That individual would also make a large fortune in the process of converting the trade winds into electric power.

In addition to tourism the island must develop non polluting industries that would provide the locals with employment opportunities that will last indefinitely. Toward that end the island has a distinct advantage over other islands in the Caribbean (excepting PR). As a US territory any items manufactured in St Croix will be able to display the label "Made In the USA". This concept was the basis for one of the ideas I proposed to my wife for consideration. She happens to work for a costume company based in New York. She presently is the managing director for that concern and resides in Hong Kong and her role as managing director is to source factories in mainland China and the Pacific Rim for the purpose of manufacturing and shipping their costumes and accessories back to the US as well as for their international concerns. This business arrangement imposes restrictions on her company in the form of tarriffs, quotas and shipping costs which shrink the company's margins. The tarriff and quota issues would be eliminated entirely and shipping costs could be dramatically reduced if the company manufactured their costumes in the USVI. As she has expressed a strong desire to return back to the states I suggested to her that since we are nearing retirement ages we might consider moving to St. Croix and set up a sewing factory for the purpose of manufacturing many of her company's costumes. We could then take advantage of the tax incentives offered by the USVI for providing employment opportunities to the local populace while enjoying the pleasures of living on the island. Regrettably, she won't budge but the concept remains valid and is one that I believe may help rejuvenate the island's economy as it has helped in other areas such as Haiti.

For what it's worth that's my 2 cents..

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Posted : February 4, 2012 4:02 pm
JulieKay
(@JulieKay)
Trusted Member

I think a costume sewing business could do quite well here. Could branch out into Carnival/Festival costumes as well.

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Posted : February 4, 2012 4:17 pm
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