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The Caribbean Travel Awards 2021 Caribbean Journal

 

That next trip. 

Maybe it’s for a holiday, maybe it’s for a family reunion, maybe it’s an annual tradition. 

That next trip, that vacation to plan for, to dream about; it’s one of the greatest antidotes to creeping monotony in our lives.  

Travel makes our lives interesting, it sustains us; it expands our horizons; it builds community; it deepens our souls. 

And for a good portion of this year, all that was taken away. For many, it’s still the case. 

This year was a reminder of just how important traveling is for all of us. 

For the Caribbean, though, the travel industry isn’t just something to dream about — it’s the backbone of the entire economy — it is essential; it is indispensable. 

That’s why in early June, the Caribbean, which had already mounted an admirable offensive against the pandemic, began reopening its borders for tourism. 

It was not an easy decision, nor was it without risk. But the region largely had no choice. 

And for nearly half the year, the vast majority of the Caribbean has been, in some form or another, open again for travel for those willing to do so. 

And in six months, the Caribbean has largely set a global example for how to reopen in a careful, focused, safe manner — providing its signature sanctuary for travelers and an important injection of economic energy. 

And that’s in large part, not because it’s the most beautiful place on earth — but because it’s the most resilient place on earth, thanks to a universe of people who prove time after time, year after year, storm after storm, that nothing can stop them. 

So even in a year of impossibilities, the Caribbean is back, navigating its way through the challenges of the new age of travel, an essential task for the most tourism-dependent regional economy in the world. 

But what that also means is that, now more than ever, we must continue to celebrate this region, celebrate its people and celebrate what remains the greatest travel destination on earth. 

That’s why we’re happy to announce what is now the 7th annual edition of our Caribbean Travel Awards across 20 different categories. 

— Alexander Britell, Editor-in-Chief 

The beach on Protestant Cay in St Croix.

Destination of the Year: The US Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands was the first destination to reopen for tourism when it did so on June 1, in many ways helping to pave the way for the broader reopening of the entire Caribbean. Through the summer, a one-month shutdown, and a second reopening centered around a region-leading travel portal, the USVI has been a model for tourism reopenings around the region — highlighting what was, before the pandemic, an increasingly hot tri-island destination its own right, from the launch of a new tourism brand for St Croix early in the year to a rekindled hotel devleopment movement led by the territory’s impressive Tourism Commissioner, Joseph Boschulte. 

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