ROAD TOWN, Tortola -- The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board launched a program targeting small hotels, inns and villas in a move to more aggressively market and promote the destination's small properties to the North American market.

Russell Harrigan, board chairman, said the program "will raise the profile of our 70-plus small hotels and inns, priced from economy to deluxe."

He said most are locally owned, have limited marketing resources and "often become lost in the shuffle when overshadowed by the name-brand, full-service hotels in more commercial vacation destinations."

Later this year, a toll-free number and Web site will be launched for contact information on air and land packages sold via operators.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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