Virgin Islands Law Blog

Virgin Islands Law Blog

U.S. Virgin Islands law & politics

Special Allocations in Partnerships and LLCs

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services

The vast majority of business arrangements involve partners splitting profits and debts based on their contributions to the company. A two-person partnership, for example, often has a 50/50 split, but these arrangements can become more complicated as more partners are added.

For example, imagine a two-person partnership in which one partner contributed the majority of startup capital for the business. That partner might understandably not want to spend too long waiting for a return on the extra investment he or she made. In this scenario, a special allocation would help adjust for the disparity of investment.

 

What are special allocations?

A special allocation involves dividing profits and losses among all of the owners in ways that do not necessarily reflect the ownership interests of the members. Most of the time, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for wanting to create such an arrangement. However, there are situations in which partners will create a special allocation as a means to get around making some tax payments. Thus, the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) analyzes all special allocations before approving them, as the agency wants to make sure it is being established for valid business reasons.

In the event the BIR does choose to deny the special allocation, it will set taxes on the business members based on the proportion of the ownership interest held by those members.

Basically, the BIR wants to see a “substantial economic effect” on the business before it will be willing to approve a special allocation. A special allocation that does have a substantial economic effect will reflect its members’ economic situations, rather than a means of shifting tax responsibilities in a strategic manner.

Let’s say Bob and Christina start a company together. Bob has enough money to pay for startup costs, but Christina will have to make payments in installments. Christina could sign a contract stating she will pay for her portion over the next two years. The operating agreement for the company could then state that while both Bob and Christina maintain a 50/50 ownership split, Bob will receive 75 percent of the losses and profits during those first two years while Christina keeps making his payments.

In this scenario, the BIR will understand there is a substantial economic effect, as Bob currently has significantly more money invested in the company. While this is a rather simplistic example, it provides some insight into what the BIR looks to when examining special allocations.

For further information and guidance on special allocations and various other legal issues associated with business partnerships, speak with an experienced business and corporate law attorney and learn more about your options.

 

Steven K. Hardy is Chair of the BoltNagi Corporate, Tax and Estate Planning Practice Group at BoltNagi PC, a respected and experienced corporate planning law firm serving executives across the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With New Federal Rule, Many More Americans Now Eligible for Overtime Pay

Posted in Government Relations, Labor & Employment

Last summer, President Barack Obama announced plans to raise the overtime salary threshold, a move that promised to make millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. Those plans went into effect last month, when the White House revealed the details of the new overtime threshold rules the President had set forth.

The measure is the strongest yet from the President to fight income inequality—although it could have a significant impact on businesses and employers across the United States and in its territories.

Under previous rules, professional, executive and administrative employees were exempt from mandatory overtime pay if they made more than $23,660 per year. The new rules nearly double that threshold, bumping it up to $47,476. Initial research indicates that this would make approximately 4.2 million workers eligible to make time-and-a-half wages for every hour they put in above 40 hours in a single workweek.

Currently, there are only 7 percent of people in the United States who qualify for overtime pay, a number that had been as high as 62 percent in 1975. The new rule would make 35 percent of workers in the United States eligible for overtime pay.

President Obama has also voiced his support for an increase in the federal minimum wage to more than $10 an hour from its current rate of $7.25. However, efforts to increase the minimum wage have not to date gained traction in the U.S. Congress.

 

How will these new rules affect companies?

It remains to be seen how the majority of businesses in the United States will respond to these changes. Some companies could begin switching salaried employees to hourly and expect them to track their own hours, but it’s an act that could be damaging to workplace morale. Others will probably increase the salaries of their employees to avoid having to pay overtime.

The impact will be seen the most in small businesses, which often are not able to afford paying overtime pay to employees. They will likely implement rules to prevent employees from working more than 40 hours per week—or begin relying more on part-time workers who can take on extra work if needed.

The good news for employees is that either way, they do not lose. They either begin making overtime pay that they had previously been denied, or they are given more free time to enjoy themselves outside of work as companies try to limit hours to no more than 40 per week.

To get a better sense of how these new overtime rules could affect your business, meet with a knowledgeable labor and employment attorney.

Ravinder S. Nagi is Chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group at BoltNagi PC, a well-established and respected labor law firm proudly serving businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Common Types of Trusts and How They Protect Your Assets

Posted in Real Estate

charity signIf you would like to make sure your assets and property are distributed in accordance with your wishes, a trust is one of the best tools to help you do exactly that.

Through a trust, you are able to maintain full control over which beneficiaries receive certain funds or property, all while bypassing the lengthy and occasionally stressful probate process in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The following are some of the most common types of trusts:

  • Revocable trusts: You may modify or completely revoke these trusts at any time. Also commonly referred to as “living trusts,” you are able to transfer any assets you wish to the trust. When you pass away, your beneficiaries will be able to receive those assets without having to go through probate.
  • Irrevocable trusts: Once established, these trusts cannot be modified. Once assets are placed in the trust, they are permanently owned by that trust until the time comes for them to be passed to the beneficiaries. Irrevocable trusts are often used as a tool to help avoid or minimize estate tax obligations.
  • Charitable trusts: If you wish to leave money or assets to a specific charity or cause, you may establish a charitable trust. These trusts also have the added benefit of significantly reducing or eliminating estate taxes.
  • Special needs trust: If you have a loved one with special needs, you may establish a special needs trust to ensure that person still is qualified to receive government benefits. The beneficiary is not allowed to control how often trust benefits are distributed or in what amount they are distributed.
  • Asset protection trust: These trusts help to protect your property from claims from creditors. If you know you have creditors who are going to attempt to go after your assets, this can help your friends and family members avoid the hassle of dealing with them, while also giving you greater control over your assets.
  • Spendthrift trust: These trusts ensure your beneficiaries will not either promise away or sell any of their interests in the trust. All assets placed in this type of trust are protected from creditors of the beneficiary, at least until the trust’s assets are distributed.

 

All of these trusts are legitimate and helpful estate planning tools that provide you with greater control over your assets and property. The type of trust you choose, of course, depends on your own personal financial and estate situation. Individuals with larger estates are more likely to take advantage of trusts that help minimize their estate tax burdens, for example.

For further guidance and advice on selecting and establishing the best trust option for your needs and situation, reach out to a skilled estate planning attorney. Remember, it’s never too early to begin this process.

 

Tom Bolt is an estate planning attorney with BoltNagi PC, a widely respected and well-established estate planning law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

US Virgin Islands No Longer Tied to Puerto Rico Oversight Bill

Posted in Government Relations

US_Federal_Debt_as_Percent_of_GDP_by_Senate_Majority_Party_(1940_to_2009)As of June 9, the U.S. Virgin Islands is no longer tied to the Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), a development that was referred to as a “significant victory” by Stacey Plaskett, the territory’s delegate to Congress.

The bill passed after Congress made changes to a particularly controversial section that would have extended the option to have an oversight board presiding over American territories beyond Puerto Rico. Now, the U.S. Virgin Islands and various other territories are no longer included in the bill.

However, there is an exception in place. The Territory could be re-included if lawsuits are filed by bondholders or other potential challengers. Thus, while this amendment to the bill and its passage did mark a major victory for the U.S. Virgin Islands, it could be temporary.

Bill background

Much of the concern surrounding the bill revolved around the potential negative effects an inclusion of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Puerto Rico bill could have on the Territory’s bonded indebtedness. However, officials with the U.S. Department of the Treasury have argued that if some territories are left out and others are included, bondholders could sue the federal government. These bondholders tend to view the bill as a means for the federal government to legally allow Puerto Rico to skip out on paying back the debt it owes.

If local bonds would have been negatively affected, it could have had a large impact on the territory’s economy. Just the reports of the U.S. Virgin Islands potentially being included in the bill caused interest rates here to increase slightly—an actual inclusion could have caused those rates to soar to new heights.

As it stands, the PROMESA bill would place all financial affairs in Puerto Rico under direct control of the U.S. federal government. Puerto Rico currently has $72 billion in debt, which would be legally reduced and forgiven under the new law in a process similar to Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

 

Still room for improvement

Although Plaskett is pleased with the bill’s amendment, she went on record to say it still is a flawed piece of legislation. She blames Republicans in Congress for removing certain recommendations, proposed by President Barack Obama, that were made with the intention of stimulating greater economic growth.

Plaskett also believes the powers of the Oversight Board are far too broad and that the entire piece of legislation goes too far in removing Puerto Rico’s autonomy. She worries about what would happen if such a piece of legislation were enacted to provide similar oversight over the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For more information on the PROMESA bill and what it means for businesses and investors in the U.S. Virgin Islands, consult a knowledgeable business and corporate law attorney today.

 

Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney for BoltNagi, a respected and well-established business and government relations law firm serving individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

How Do J1 Visas for Medical Doctors Work?

Posted in Immigration, International

J1 VisaThe United States and its territories are home to hundreds of thousands of immigrant doctors and other healthcare professionals. In fact, according to the Migration Policy Institute, about 26% of all physicians practicing within the United States immigrated to the country.

These immigrants are critically important to the U.S. healthcare system, and the Department of State has a program that allows foreign doctors to come to the country to complete their residencies or engage in internships. Called the J1 Visa program, these professionals receive a special visa to pursue their medical training.

To be eligible for the program, physicians must meet certain standards in terms of their experiences, background and general needs. They must have already received medical education and training from a school of medicine accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Additionally, they must have passed the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (both steps 1 and 2) or at least one of the tests that had previously been given to foreign medical students.

Prior to actually receiving the visa, the doctor must also collect certain documents. First, the training doctor must provide documentation of a clear need for more physicians in his or her country. This “statement of need” must be submitted to the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates in the United States.

Applicants must also obtain a written agreement with the medical school or scientific institution at which they will perform their residency or internship. Finally, applicants must receive a signed certificate of eligibility from the sponsor of their chosen clinical or nonclinical programs.

Applying for the J1 Visa

Once all of the proper documentation has been collected, the applicant is ready to receive the visa. The first step is to fill out a form called DS-160, which is the visa application. There will also be an application fee that may be paid at a designated bank. The receipt for the application fee and the DS-160 are potentially important down the road, so you should make sure to save them for your records.

After the application fee is paid, the doctor sets up an appointment to interview at their home country’s U.S. consulate. There is a SEVIS fee, which goes toward funding for the overall J1 program, that must be paid before the interview. The interview is the doctor’s opportunity to present all documents supporting the application. The consular officer will ask questions in English to ensure eligibility, and security checks will be made to ensure the doctor is not a health or security threat.

As a next step, the J1 Visa will be issued (if approved). Family members, such as spouses and minor children, are allowed to accompany the doctors in training to the United States, with each family member being required to file a separate DS-2019 form.

To learn more about the J1 Visa application process, speak with a skilled immigration law attorney. An experienced legal professional will be able to walk you and your organization through the process, ensuring you avoid some of the common pitfalls that can negatively impact these applications.

 

Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney for BoltNagi, a widely respected and established business law firm with  immigration expertise serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

C Corps and S Corps Have Different Tax Implications

Posted in Corporate & Financial Services

Whenever a new business is founded, the entrepreneur must decide what type of company it will operate us. Two of the most common choices are C Corps and S Corps—each of which has its own advantages. The choice you make depends largely on how you intend to run and structure your business.

Similarities of C Corps and S Corps

In both structures, you are typically required to pay a minimum franchise tax and file an annual statement of officers, along with a nominal fee. The corporation’s principals are expected to hold regular board of director meetings (at least annually, if not more often).

All books and bank accounts in both C Corps and S Corps are expected to remain separate from personal records and books. This is because the corporation is a formal business entity, and personal transactions must stay separate in accordance with federal law.

All owners of the company who also work for it are required to be on payroll, and payroll taxes must be withheld and matched with reasonable rates of pay. If the IRS ends up auditing the corporation and discovers this rule is violated, it will likely collect penalties and interest, in addition to payroll taxes owed.

Differences between C Corps and S Corps

Although there are plenty of similarities between the two models, there are also a number of different tax implications of which business owners should be aware. Here are a few noteworthy examples:

  • C Corps file standalone tax returns and ultimately pay their taxes at a corporate level, with losses either carried backward or forward. C Corps may be taxed at a maximum rate of 35 percent. S Corps, on the other hand, do file a tax return, but loss or profit passes through Form 1120S K-1 to an individual income tax return. Ultimately, tax liability and taxes are paid at the individual level. The maximum tax rate here is 39.6 percent.
  • C Corp owners are unable to withdraw funds in the manner of a partner in a partnership or a sole proprietor. Any funds withdrawn are subject to double taxation, unless they are expense reimbursements or loan repayments. S Corp owners are allowed to withdraw funds against profit, as long as reasonable compensation is paid through wages.
  • C Corp owners have more fringe benefits, such as disability insurance and life insurance, compared to S Corp owners.
  • C Corp owners are required to pay estimated tax based on the corporation’s profits. S Corp owners, conversely, are potentially subject to estimated tax depending on state rules. However, S Corps pay no federal income tax.

For more information on the similarities and differences of these two structures and the advantages each provides, work with an experienced business law attorney today.

 

Steven K. Hardy is Chair of the BoltNagi Corporate, Tax and Estate Planning Practice Group.  BoltNagi is a well-established and widely respected business and corporate law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What You Should Know if You Owe Money to the VI Bureau of Internal Revenue

Posted in Tax & Estate Planning

Here is my second stock photo attempt, just in time for tax season.  This one didn't require any expensive props either  but I did have to use my son's glue stick to hold the sheets together. Feel free to use this image, just link to www.SeniorLiving.Org

Whenever you or your business owes money to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), it is important to ensure you comply with all federal and territorial laws to avoid significant legal complications. Remember, there’s no chance that you will be able to outrun the BIR, so it is not worth trying.

The following is some sage advice having worked with the BIR over the past 30 years to keep in mind when the BIR comes to collect outstanding taxes:

  • Never ignore official BIR communications: Many people think that just because mail from the BIR is automated they can avoid answering and no one will be any the wiser. This is a mistake. You cannot avoid the BIR, and if you do not respond, you could potentially face interest, fines and other penalties.
  • Never file with the BIR, that you do not retain a date stamped copy:  Without fail, the BIR does not retain good records.  Often times, it is your word against theirs so it well advised that you submit all filings in person and retain a date stamped copy.  Do not depend on mailing filings.  If necessary, work with a local law firm or accountant so that they may submit same and provide you with a date stamped copy.
  • Never go to BIR meetings by yourself: You should always have legal representation when you meet with the BIR. A tax attorney will look out for your rights and help you reach significantly better outcomes.
  • Speak with a tax expert: Before you meet with the BIR, arrange a meeting with a tax expert who can help you prepare. This expert should provide an idea of everything the BIR will tell or ask you, how you should respond and how to avoid further complications.
  • The BIR does make mistakes: If you have been keeping good track of your tax payments and believe something in the paperwork sent to you by the BIR doesn’t look right, theirs is quite often a chance a mistake was made. The BIR does make mistakes from time to time, so if you believe this is the case, work to get the mistake corrected as soon as possible.
  • Due process applies to BIR proceedings: Due process is not just a word used in court—it also applies to BIR collections. For example, the BIR cannot legally take over your bank account, garnish your wages or repossess any of your property without prior written notice and without giving you an opportunity to challenge any of its claims. All collection activity must be paused if there are pending challenges to BIR claims. In some situations, you may actually take the BIR to court.
  • If you owe, there are options: The BIR won’t have you sent to jail because you cannot pay—although it may seek criminal charges if you are attempting to evade taxes. If you are unable to make your payments in full, there are several strategies. A hardship suspension allows you to temporarily suspend your taxes until you are better able to pay. You could arrange a payment plan or file for bankruptcy—although this strategy is certainly not for everyone. Finally, you could attempt to come to an agreement with the BIR, depending on your situation.

For further guidance on this and other tax issues, work with a skilled tax planning attorney right away.

Tom Bolt is Chair of the BoltNagi Government Relations Practice Group.  BoltNagi is a widely respected and well-established government relations and tax planning law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

VIRGIN ISLANDS MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES TO $8.35 PER HOUR

Posted in Labor & Employment

Minimum-Wage-ImageEarlier this year, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands approved an increase of the minimum wage in the territory to $8.35 per hour, pursuant to Act No.7856, which by June 1, 2018 will increase up to $10.50 per hour.

The $8.35 increase takes into effect on June 21, 2016.  Aside from the initial minimum wage increase, the minimum wage will increase again on June 1, 2017 to $9.50 and $10.50 per hour on June 1, 2018.

Business owners across the U.S. Virgin Islands are likely wondering how increases in minimum wages over the next couple of years will affect their business. The best basis for comparison is to look at states that have also recently hiked their minimum wage rates.

Case studies across the United States

The biggest story in terms of minimum wage rate hikes over the past couple years came in July 2015, when Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced the state would implement a plan to increase the minimum wage for employees in the foodservice industry to $15 an hour. The increases will be implemented gradually over the course of the next few years. As those increases are still in progress, there is not yet a clear picture of what impact they have had on the state’s economy.

Other states, however, have approved smaller minimum wage hikes more comparable to what’s happening in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2014 and 2015, the following states increased their minimum wages: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. D.C. was the only place to raise the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour (it is now $10.50).

A study of raised minimum wages performed by the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the impact of raising minimum wage to $9 and $10.10. A state raising the minimum wage to $10.10 was more likely to experience a drastic reduction of workers, but low-wage workers across the country would receive much greater gains in their earnings every week.

To that end, as a business owner, it is important to consider all of the possibilities that the ongoing minimum wage rate hikes will bring and to be prepared for them. If you need more information and guidance on your obligations, consult a trusted labor and employment attorney.

Attorney Ravi S. Nagi chairs the BoltNagi, PC Labor & Employment Practice Group, a widely respected and established labor and employment law firm serving clients throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

The Requirements for Recording a Deed Executed in a Foreign Country

Posted in Real Estate, Tax & Estate Planning

NYS-Notary-SealGrantors of U.S. Virgin Islands real property executing a deed in a foreign country may face additional legal hurdles in conveying property. Although the basic steps remain the same as for a deed executed within the Territory, there are important differences that should be noted.  These include: (i) the formalities that must be present during the execution in order for there to be a valid transfer of title; (ii) what persons/officers are eligible to take the acknowledge of the execution; (iii) the form of the certificate of acknowledgment; and (iv) how the authority of such person/office taking the acknowledgment is authenticated.

While Title 28, Section 42, subsection (a), Virgin Islands Code, provides that a deed within the U.S. Virgin Islands must be executed in the presence of two (2) witnesses who shall subscribe their names on it, subsection (b) of that Section provides that deeds in foreign countries conveying title to real property in the U.S. Virgin Islands should be executed in accordance with the laws of the foreign country. Although requirements of foreign countries may often be more relaxed than the two-witness requirement in the Territory, this is not always the case.  Accordingly, it is critical to check the law of that country to ensure all requirements are met.

Although there is nothing to legally prevent a grantor from executing a deed in a foreign country and then returning to the U.S. Virgin Islands to acknowledge execution of the deed (i.e., the notarial act), as a practical matter however, the execution and acknowledgment are always done together. Accordingly, the next step is to ensure that the acknowledgment in the foreign country meets the requirements of the Uniform Acknowledgment Act, which was adopted in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1981.  Title 28, Section 82, Virgin Islands code sets forth a list of persons/officers eligible to take an acknowledgment in a foreign country, which includes judges, clerks, certain personnel of the U.S. Department of State, and, most importantly, notary publics authorized under the law of the foreign country.  Just as if the deed was being executed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the grantor shall appear before the officer and acknowledge that he executed the deed.  The officer must then certify that: (i) the grantor appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the deed and (ii) that he knows or has satisfactory evidence that the grantor appearing before him is the same person that is the grantor in the deed.  The officer will then prepare a written certification.  Virgin Islands law allows the form of this written certification to be the same as that used for acknowledgments within the Virgin Islands or a form approved by the laws of the country in which the acknowledgment is taken.  Finally, the authenticity of the officer taking the acknowledgment must be demonstrated.  Depending on who the officer is (e.g., judge, notary, etc.), the requirements vary.  This, however, is usually accomplished by the officer affixing his seal to the written acknowledgment attached to the deed or affixing his signature and listing his rank and title.

When an acknowledgment of a deed execution is taken in a country that is a signatory to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (i.e., Apostile Convention), BoltNagi PC believes it is good practice for the grantor to have the authenticity of the notarial act certified in accordance with the Convention and have the Apostile certificate attached to the acknowledged deed.

Once a deed to U.S. Virgin Islands real property has been properly executed and acknowledged in a foreign country, the requirements for recording the deed in the Territory are the same as for those executed and acknowledged in the Territory. For all parcels of land (vs. condominiums and timeshare units), the Cadastral Section of the Tax Assessor’s Office must conduct a boundary attestation and certify the correctness of the legal description of the real property being conveyed by virtue of the deed  A current tax clearance letter issued by the Office of the Tax Collector, certifying all ad valorem tax liabilites are current, must be attached to the deed.  Unless eligible for an exception, the transfer tax must be paid and the stamps affixed.  Documents transmitted to the Recorder of Deeds with proper recording fees are date-stamped when received and kept for processing. Upon completion, documents are returned to customers by mail or held for pick up. The complete process takes approximately one week.

The transfer tax stamps shall be affixed to deeds executed outside the U.S. Virgin Islands within thirty (30) days from the date of arrival within the Territory. Arrival date shall be endorsed on the document and the date verified by affidavit (Title 33, Section 127). The penalty for any document not stamped within the proper time is twice the stamp tax not to exceed $100 (Title 33, Section 129).

For more information about recording a deed executed in a foreign country, work with an experienced real estate attorney.

 

Steven K. Hardy is Chair of the BoltNagi Real Estate and Financial Services Practice Group. BoltNagi is a well-established and widely respected real estate  law firm assisting clients regarding U.S. Virgin Islands real estate and real estate development.

Gov. Mapp Outlines Economic Development Initiatives for U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted in Community Affairs, Government Relations

Governor Mapp at Transfer Day CeremonyU.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp recently held a press conference at Government House, where he discussed a number of economic development initiatives.

Tourism has long been the single-largest driver of the economy in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the industry has fully recovered since the Great Recession. Mapp emphasized the importance of the tourism industry to the economy in the territory, and said he is reviewing a variety of initiatives that may help boost the industry even further.

The following are a few of the primary issues the governor discussed related to tourism and the territory’s overall economy:

Five-year plan

The Commission of Tourism has begun updating its own five-year tourism plan, which it developed alongside the Office of the Governor. The plan will help create a more sustainable future for the tourism through research, data collection and strategic visioning sessions.

New resort on Water Island

Governor Mapp also announced a brand-new resort on Water Island, which will make that particular island more attractive for tourists. It is the smallest and newest addition to the U.S. Virgin Islands, having joined the territory officially in 1996. However, it has not had a whole lot of tourist attention other than day trips and very few visitors who stay overnight at a small campground on the island.

Tourism on Water Island plummeted after Hurricane Hugo destroyed its Sea Cliff Resort in 1989, and has never truly recovered. This new resort, however, should attract visitors to the islands like never before.

Organizational alliances

Big names in the U.S. Virgin Islands tourism industry have a lot to gain by working alongside other organizations. An alliance between ARDA-Caribbean, ARDA-ROC and the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism Association, for example, helped to get the territory through the recession and steadily build up the industry as a whole afterward. The governor said he believes such alliances are going to continue to be a significant asset to the industry moving forward.

Focus on the natural

Another economic initiative relating to the tourist industry is to continue to focus on the natural attractions located throughout the territory. A beautiful year-round climate, gorgeous water and an abundance of recreational activities have given the U.S. Virgin Islands a reputation for being something of a paradise. Continuing to provide opportunities for snorkeling, diving, kayaking, deep-sea fishing and exploration will be a major facet of the tourism industry as it continues to build on recent successes.

U.S. Virgin Islands officials don’t appear to have any shortage of ideas when it comes to building on the recent growth the tourism industry—and the economy as a whole—have experienced.

 

Tom Bolt is Managing Attorney for BoltNagi PC, a respected and well-established government relations law firm serving individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands.