The combination of no passport requirements, easy-to-understand COVID-19 rules and strong tourism management led to a boom in visits to the U.S. Virgin Islands from the mainland in 2021, helping to fuel a dramatic turnaround in tourism on St. John, which had struggled in the aftermath of devastating blows from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

The storm wiped out one of St. John’s most iconic resorts, Caneel Bay, which still hasn’t reopened and possibly never will.