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STT economy

 
delossw
(@delossw)
Active Member

I will be moving down in May and realize that is will be the off-season for tourism so I will be bringing a nice nest egg down just incase, but wanted to ask the people who are in the tourism industry if they are feeling the effects yet of the down economy? Waiters, bartenders.... are you feeling like you are pulling in less than you have in the past? Thanks!!

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Topic starter Posted : March 10, 2009 6:09 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Yes - less tourists - less spending by those who are here - still getting many people who booked before the major down turn in the states - once this pre booking clientele dries up ,which is soon - we will really see how bad it is going to get.

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Posted : March 10, 2009 10:37 pm
rokipatel
(@rokipatel)
Advanced Member

Here in st thomas i really don"t see a very low downturn yet specially in cruise ship passengers. But if you observed the crowds non of them are carrying much liquor and jewerly like they did before people browse in downtown shops but not so much buying like before. I think even thou there is a downturn in airplane arrivals and in hotel reservation in the island a cruise vacation are still the cheapest and most convenient vacation you could take. Even thou the obama stimulus is not going to solve the problem small economies like the USVI are going to received a influx of almost 300 million dollars which is going to have a positive effect in the island and will stabilize USVI government finances and therefore will get us thru the next year when is Expected that US economy will stabilize and grow. In regards to the other islands that depend solely on tourism dollars and do not have uncle sam to subsidize their economies i do see a very tough very tough couple of years much worse than the USVI

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Posted : March 10, 2009 11:42 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

It sucks & it will get worse. Look for many business closings come summer. Unfortunately.

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Posted : March 10, 2009 11:55 pm
pamela
(@pamela)
Trusted Member

I am in the crewed charter yacht business. January and February had me fearing the worst however I can say the inquiries and reservations have picked up this month. Trips are shorter but it looks like with some luck I will make it through the season. Answer would have been different only two weeks ago.

Pamela

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Posted : March 11, 2009 2:01 pm
billd
(@billd)
Trusted Member

Here are some things that are happening:

Condo bookings are down about 30%

The average amount spend bt cruse ship people is getting smaller and smaller.

Small business are dying right and left.

There is very, very little real estate selling.

If that is not an indication of troubled times I don't know what is.

Are we in trouble down here? You bet we are!!!!

billd

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Posted : March 11, 2009 9:25 pm
c61457
(@c61457)
New Member

hi 🙂 i may be moving to st. thomas in the near future, and i was wondering about the banks there in st. thomas. approximately how many banks and credit unions are in st. thomas, and are they receiving their bail out money yet? thank you for the helpful information that i have read from reading this message board 🙂

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Posted : March 19, 2009 12:13 am
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

We have Bank of Nova Scotia, VI First Bank, Bank St Croix and dang....brain on slow mode this morning, whats the Puerto rican bank? Anyways I'm sure they'll try to cash in on something but they are in no need of a bail out. We are just starting to feel the effect of what is going on stateside now. Lenders here have always been more conservative, for example its much harder to get a mortgage here, you have to have very good credit score, you have to put at least 10% down just when you sign the contract, etc... Also the locals build their own house without mortgages. So no ones loosing their houses. Our biggest fears here is loss of tourism, loss of stateside or overseas business because of the trickle down effect. Also gas going up means our electric goes up.

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Posted : March 19, 2009 9:49 am
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

Banco Popular

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Posted : March 19, 2009 9:55 am
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
Trusted Member

banks here were not feeding at the sub-prime trough, so if any of them are having problems, they are not related to bad loans so much as the overall effects of the world economy and people losing jobs and not being able to meet their financial obligations. this is my opinion, as i am not a financial expert.

i cannot speak for the company for which i work or the entire villa rental industry, this is just my take, and i thought i'd share it.

i am in the villa rental business, and while there were a lot of cancellations at first, a concerted marketing and value-added effort keeps things steadier than they were just a month ago. i don't think anyone is where they were last year, but those who are still afloat, are there because the owners of their businesses maintained sound financial behavior even when things were wildly successful for all.

we do not know what the low season will bring, but i think that some companies' immediate rush to rock-bottom pricing hurt everyone. before prices were slashed, i wish that some companies had considered whether they could meet their basic expenses and/or supply the advertised services or amenities. there is nothing wrong with cutting prices, but it's about the posture you take when you try to accommodate the fact that we are all experiencing the crunch.

just as our clientele is having hard economic times, so are the management companies, suppliers and our owners. we can meet somewhere in the middle, but an owner cannot take a booking that will end up actually costing money. a monthly power bill alone can run into the thousands because of the way guests leave doors and windows open and have a/c's going (not all, but most are not used to conservation of energy because it is so plentiful where they come from)... and the cistern always has to be filled because of the anticipated water waste. that's at least 500 to a grand right there, for most homes (larger homes, larger bills).

we have not yet paid the gardener, the housekeeper, nor the maintenance personnel who do pre-arrival checks. oh, and the pool man. the difference between a villa and a hotel is that we don't have staff at the ready being paid by the hour, we do have pros who have other clients, who charge for their services by the hour. they now get fewer calls, which means they also feel the crunch, when there are fewer bookings. however, on an island, when that a/c blows, our guests don't want to hear that the rate is now so low that the owner won't have enough to pay the a/c guy who will come out on a sunday night. they want the a/c fixed.

the price point must support this service, or the guest will have a lousy experience and perhaps never consider another villa rental. the extras like being met at the airport, having someone on island to call when something is needed or you have a simple question, having a concierge to pick the perfect restaurant (our concierge even got a massage for a man who refused to book in advance... he called her on thanksgiving day for a massage that night. and she made it happen!), guest services to help coordinate transport between the islands if your final destination is beyond st. thomas... and there when you miss a connection and need your car rental company to stand by or re-arrange and not let go of your car due to no-show... we are here to hold your hand, catch you when you fall, and get the lead out when murphy's law takes over.

there is so much that goes into a villa rental, and it's great that the process often runs so smoothly that it's like magic, but it does come at a cost. nowadays, we are taking in less and still providing the same services with fewer people on hand.

those of us who are working are blessed to have positions that support our households. the types of calls that we get from people nowadays are all about what can be obtained for as little as possible, and it's our job to make sure that we meet our obligations to everyone in terms of payment or delivery of services and product. we will work with you, but we are on the same planet and going through the same thing. try to feel a sister!

i cannot speak for the company for which i work or the entire villa rental industry, this is just my take, and i thought i'd share it.

as for me, life is good. i have less but somehow i do more with it. compared to many in the world, i am rich beyond compare. i just had a bowl of fruit with yogurt and am drinking a fragrant earl grey. i know where my next meal is coming from. i slept in a dry bed last night, without fear. the water that runs from my tap is clean and drinkable. i am surrounded by fresh air, blue water, and a postcard view at almost every hillside turn. i am in a position to help people every single day, and i have the ability to relax my spirit when i want to. tomorrow is another day, but today is awesome. i enjoy this board, because i get to share what you cannot find out from ads, brochures or sales pitches. this is island life, and like most, it's not perfect. but it rocks in its own way.

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Posted : March 19, 2009 10:40 am
antillean
(@antillean)
Advanced Member

I bank by mail with Bank of America. I have been here over two years and have not felt any major inconvenience. No real need to deal with a local bank IMHO, unless you are operating a business.

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Posted : March 19, 2009 11:11 am
Bassman
(@bassman)
Advanced Member

I'm not trying to be negative but, if Obama's cap and trade carbon tax is passed you'll have even fewer that can afford to visit the islands. Obama has said that electric rates will double and that's before his experts had admitted that that's a low ball estimate. It will add $2.50 to the price of a gallon of gas. Everything will cost significantly more. Our manufactured goods will not be competitive overseas. Jobs will be lost . Everyone else will be afraid of spending any disposable income.
I had been making two trips a year to the USVI. I'll be there for perhaps one last fling next month. If this carbon tax is passed I most likely will not be able to be back for a long time.

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Posted : March 19, 2009 11:52 am
c61457
(@c61457)
New Member

thank you betty for the information :). i thought that i had read somewhere that there was a few credit unions, and a st. thomas bank, too. 🙂 i must had misunderstood what i did read 🙂 🙂

thankss again

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Posted : March 20, 2009 3:11 am
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Antillian, why would you not want to deal with a local bank?

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Posted : March 21, 2009 12:24 pm
Edward
(@Edward)
Trusted Member

I opened an account at First Bank VI last month and have electronic access, ATM card, and debit card. The people at the bank and in San Juan are incredibly friendly. I also have an account at Bank of America, and they have also been quite nice, but I will switch all my banking to VI.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 9:46 am
sherri
(@sherri)
Advanced Member

Anita,
Very well said!

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Posted : March 22, 2009 6:01 pm
sheilerqoe
(@sheilerqoe)
New Member

Wow Anita - you really like your job! That's refreshing to read. I live in a ski resort and we are facing the same issues, even though we thought we were immune. I joined this board because I am considering a move to the USVI (too many winters up here) and am enjoying all of the posts - positive and negative. As Anita so eloquently stated, I make the most of where I am and count my blessings each day, even if they seem stale.

Smiles,

Sheila

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Posted : March 25, 2009 8:28 pm
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
Trusted Member

thanx sherri, and sheila!

i just remembered, that guest who wanted the massage on thanksgiving day, interrupted the concierge at her thanksgiving dinner (i was there too, chomping away!) to get the massage that very night. she's better than me in that regard, as i felt he was being unreasonable. lucky for him, she was in charge of his happiness! :@)

we sort of have that "resort" experience in that the majority of our economic activity hinges on visitors. right now things are tight, but i find that those who know how to get along and make friends, and are willing to put in good time doing useful work, somehow make it.

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Posted : March 26, 2009 2:07 am
Edward
(@Edward)
Trusted Member

I'm a development economist and forecasting comes with the territory. My forecast is that the economy of the US and Europe will turn around in the 4th quarter (Oct-Dec) of 2009 and that the recovery in 2010 will be robust.

What that means for the Caribbean, as well as here in Eastern Europe, is that business will pick up.

My advice: VI businesses should stick it out as best they can so they will be positioned well for the recovery.

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Posted : March 26, 2009 4:35 am
casab22
(@casab22)
Active Member

Edward,

Where are you a development economist?

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Posted : March 26, 2009 5:41 pm
Edward
(@Edward)
Trusted Member

I've been here in post-Soviet Georgia for the past 6 years. I've worked in East Africa since 1995.

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Posted : March 27, 2009 12:40 pm
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