NEW YORK (November 23, 2011) - The United States Virgin Islands continues to strengthen its relationship with the upwardly mobile African American market in the United States with its support of the Weeksville Heritage Center's 10th annual awards dinner in New York City.

Held at Jumeirah Essex House in New York City on Monday, November 14, the Weeksville Heritage Center - a national historic site which preserves the entrepreneurial spirit of the independent African American community that thrived during the 19th Century in Brooklyn, New York - honored two prominent individuals and a global corporation for their community work.

Former NBA player and now coach Avery Johnson of the newly named Brooklyn Nets; Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the New York Amsterdam News, Elinor Tatum, and Hill International, a global leader in construction management were on the evening's honor roll.

"As a territory we remain resolved to continue working with the African American community and other multicultural markets," said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism of the United States Virgin Islands. The Department of Tourism donated a four-night vacation at the swanky Ritz Carlton St. Thomas along with a number of complimentary destination activities which fetched for US$3,700 during the dinner's auction. Lori Stokes of WABC's Eyewitness News was the MC for the evening.

The Commissioner said while marketing to the African American traveler was an important part of the destination's marketing strategy, supporting educational organizations which promote African American culture and heritage in the United States was also key.

This past summer, the Department forged a strategic communications alliance with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) to attract African American travelers to the territory.

The USVI department of Tourism was a major sponsor of the recent Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge, a premier African American networking and sporting event in the United States.

Funds raised from the New York event will support Weeksville's year-long programs which include guided school tours of the historic site, preservation workshops for high school students and a farmers market that offers fresh produce for hundreds of visitors of all ages and all economic backgrounds.

According to the organizers, the awards donations have helped to ensure Weeksville - in what is now known as Crown Heights - becomes a premier cultural institution in Central Brooklyn as well as a catalyst for community development. Next year, Weeksville plans to open a new Education and Cultural Arts Building.

For more information about the United States Virgin Islands, go to VisitUSVI.com, follow us on Twitter (@ USVITourism) and become a fan on Facebook

(www.facebook.com/VisitUSVI). When traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. citizens enjoy all the conveniences of domestic travel - including on-line check-in - making travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands easier than ever. As a United States Territory, travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands does not require a passport from U.S. citizens arriving from Puerto Rico or the U.S. mainland. Entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens are the same as for entering the United States from any foreign destination. Upon departure, a passport is required for all but U.S. citizens.


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