US Virgin Islands, Economy
Saint Croix, air base, paid employees, cruise ship, Saint Thomas
Tourism is vital to the economy of the Virgin Islands. Some 32 percent of all paid employees are engaged in retail sales or in services provided by recreation, motels, hotels, and restaurants. The number of tourists visiting the islands rose from about 200,000 in 1960 and 1961 to some 1.5 million in 1986; in the same period, spending by tourists grew from $26 million to more than $500 million. Some 1.6 million tourists arrived by cruise ship alone in 2000. Products manufactured in the islands include rum, watches, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. The islands also have petroleum and alumina processing plants. The total value of goods and services produced in the Virgin Islands, or its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), totaled $2 billion in 1993.
The islands form the easternmost outpost of the United States. The United States Marine Corps maintains an air base on Saint Thomas and an airfield on Saint Croix.
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