St. Thomas — On the 20th of November, the results of a high stakes runoff election broke a cycle for winning incumbents. Governor-Elect Albert Bryan and Lt. Governor-Elect Tregenza Roach came out on top, after a packed — and arguably unusual — election cycle.
Making Governor Mapp the first sitting governor to lose a reelection bid since Roy Lester Schneider in 1999. Of the eight governors to serve the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mapp is the forth to serve only one term. (Keep an eye on 2022)
To some, Bryan’s victory was surprising, to others, well deserved. The Virgin Islands has officially changed course, but what’s next?
Bryan’s team ran an extraordinary campaigns, that felt very similar to high stakes elections in the United States. To be frank, the Bryan/Roach team smashed through three elections in the territory with a secret weapon — digital marketing.
Since the election, WAPA, Viya and the Department of Tourism have launched their own marketing campaign that are, to say the least, extremely well crafted.
The Bryan/Roach team ran a campaign on change with a unifying message for all three islands. Several times on the campaign trail, Bryan spoke about each island’s individual strengths, and how the Virgin Islands could capitalize on them.
The Bryan/Roach team unwittingly transformed digital marketing in elections and slowly pushed out opponents, starting with the August Democratic Primaries to the November runoff election that unseated Governor Mapp.
Expect to see efforts from the new administration to identify strengths in all three islands and a new focus on diversity from island to island.
Take a look at St. Croix for instance, the beautiful sister island known for its agriculture and local cuisines.
Filled with fields of crops, residents on island can tell tales of when St. Croix was considered the breadbasket of the Caribbean.
Using a model of sustainable tourism, it can be expected that the Governor-elect and his new administration will consider agriculture as a strength for St. Croix and thus consider models of Agro-Tourism.
The Growing City
The island of St. Thomas is recognized as the bustling city among the three. On the campaign trail Bryan eluded that his team might implement a revamped model to more efficiently shuttle tourists to businesses and historic sites on island.
While it is still unclear how this would be accomplished, expect to hear more about revitalization projects in downtown Charlotte Amalie under this new administration.
Bryan also secured a significant number of votes in St. Thomas, winning every district on the island as residents rejected Governor Mapp’s reelection bid.
Paradise and the National Park Service
St. John is an ideal island paradise. A serene getaway. The perfect island for experiential luxury tourism, but not all residents are happy about this.
Experiential luxury tourism or immersion luxury tourism can be defined as a model of tourism where visitors experience the culture of a country from local artists, restaurants, musicians and hoteliers.
This model of tourism is sustainable as everyone that comes in contact with the visitor would have something to teach or offer. Recent trends in tourism show that people are no longer travelling to be cooped up in hotels or spend on luxury jewels.
But rather are travelling for experience and adventure. St. John is ideal for this model with its beautiful beaches and green parks who wouldn’t be captivated by the landscape?
Aside from St.John’s obvious beauty is a particular culture, one that is embracive and laid back. Expect the new administration to tackle issues like Caneel Bay and the National Park Service.
Aside from identifying each island’s strengths, the Bryan/Roach team floated other agendas that residents favored at the polls, including possible legalization of medicinal marijuana, support for individuals interested in theatre, media and the arts, the empowerment of younger demographics and a renewed focus on education and vocational training in the territory.
U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett will be hosting a joint press conference with the Bryan/Roach team tomorrow at 11 a.m. and is expected to introduce the newly elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor to Washington elites.
Virgin Islanders are now following a new road map as Bryan and his team focus on reviving the territory’s economy and forge a leading role in the Caribbean. Stay tuned for coverage from State of the Territory News.
Amaziah George contributed to this article.