U.S. News and World Report names USVI Caribbean's No. 1 place to visit Best places to visit in the Caribbean

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ST. THOMAS - It does not get any better than first place.

The U.S. Virgin Islands secured the number one position on the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean" list for 2014-2015.

Last year, the U.S. Virgin Islands was in fifth place.

The 2013 top pick, the Cayman Islands, this year slipped into second place, and St. Kitts and Nevis fell just behind in third. Though seventh on the World's Best list, Puerto Rico was just shy of earning a spot on the Caribbean's Best list of 16 locations this year, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The territory consistently has claimed a spot on the best places to visit in the Caribbean list during the years, though it is the first time that it has scored the No. 1 position.

"We're proud to be recognized as the top-ranked Caribbean destination, and honored to know that it was from the recommendations of our visitors and the U.S. News & World Report's editorial staff," said V.I. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty. "This recognition further illustrates our increased focus and work with partners to provide world-class tourism offerings that create long-lasting impressions."

Each year, travel editorial staff from U.S. News & World Report determines which destinations to include on the travel rankings based on recommendations by travel experts and the outlet's website users. More than 200 destinations covered by U.S. News & World Report were analyzed, but only a select few were identified as the publications' award recipients, according to a statement from the V.I. Tourism Department on Thursday.

"Tourism truly is all of us, which means this honor is a testament to all of us," said Nicholson-Doty.

The commissioner credited the higher listing to the territory's efforts to market its natural beauty, as well as its culture, cuisine and history.

"We realize that there are people who travel here for reasons beyond the beach," Nicholson-Doty said.

U.S. News & World Report stated that the factors that seemingly led to the territory's success in the run for top pick were its Carnival celebrations, St. John's serenity and St. Croix's history, as well as its prominence in the cruise industry.

"The U.S. Virgin Islands made an impression on travelers this year," wrote U.S. News and World Report Staff Editor Allison Michaels. "Since this island trio is a major port for Caribbean-bound cruise ships, USVI's visibility is growing - and travelers seem to like what they see."

The territory also ranked as No. 10 on the Best Places to Visit in the United States and No. 11 among the Best Places to Visit in the World, according to the magazine.

"The timing of this recognition is perfect, aligning with our current 'Virgin Islands Nice' summer travel promotion," said Nicholson-Doty. "We will continue to look for opportunities to ensure the U.S. Virgin Islands remains the top destination in the Caribbean for travelers and one of the most favored destinations within the United States and the world."

To view the full list of travel rankings by U.S. News & World Report, visit: http://travel.usnews.com/features/Where-to-Vacation-in-2014-15/.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.1. U.S. Virgin Islands

2. Cayman Islands

3. St. Kitts and Nevis

4. Barbados

5. St. Martin-St. Maarten

6. St. Lucia

7. British Virgin Islands

8. Turks & Caicos

9. Bahamas

10. St. Barts

11. Aruba

12. Curacao

13. Grenada

14. St. Vincent and

the Grenadines

15. Bermuda

16. Dominica

- Source: U.S. News & World Report

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