Today, Charlotte Amalie has become one of the most important ports of call for cruise ships and a popular vacation and shopping destination in the region. We can almost imagine the sense of expectation and excitement of our millions of visitors when approaching our island. From far away, it is still possible to appreciate the overall form of our 19th century Danish West Indian town with its unique architecture, small scale buildings built on three hills, unique stepped streets, and quaint courtyards that are not to be found on any other Caribbean island.
Upon landing on our roads or on our Waterfront, at close-up view, the reality our visitors face is quite different; traffic congestion, noise, pollution, concrete barriers, and a complete lack of vegetation, shade and amenities. Where is the tropical paradise that everyone was expecting? Where is the beautiful historic district?
Why, when St. Thomas has one of the great harbors of the world, one that can accommodate the world’s most prestigious cruise ships, and on a more intimate scale, marinas, a National Park, and Frenchtown; one that is rich in history and historic sites – why would we not maximize this important area to enhance heritage tourism, generate government revenue and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors?
The natural beauty, climate and historic heritage with which St. Thomas has been blessed are the foundations of its economy and quality of life of its residents. If preserved, managed and enhanced, these assets will continue to provide employment, income, services, pride and enjoyment today and in the future.