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US Virgin Islands: Vision 2040 Long-Term Economic Development Strategy

The Challenge

The US Virgin Islands has faced enormous economic challenges over the past decade losing its largest employer – the Hovensa oil refinery, suffering catastrophic impacts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and seeing its tourism industry decimated by the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a result of these and other systemic issues, the Territory has been experiencing persistent poverty, stagnated population, and job growth, a tourism-dependent economy, and a failure to coalesce around a vision for the future.

The Solution

Facing these challenges, the US Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority engaged Camoin Associates to prepare a community-driven 20-year economic development strategy. The Camoin Associates team undertook an intensive virtual public outreach and engagement campaign that included town hall events, interactive online participatory exercises (virtual open house), community and business surveys, a dedicated website and social media, and other techniques.

The public feedback, along with the comprehensive technical economic research and analysis, was used to identify a set of 20-year aspirational goals to bring about transformational change to the Territory’s economy. The goals reflected the target industries of the future for the Virgin Islands, which include the emerging blue economy, health sciences, renewable energy, and “VI-Style” tourism, among others. Short, medium, and long-term strategies were crafted along with an implementation plan to provide a roadmap for reaching the plan’s aspirational goals.