SEASON FORECASTS have begun to roll out of Colorado State
University's Tropical Meteorology Department, headed by veteran
tropical weather researcher William Gray. Gray's forecast for the
Atlantic Hurricane Season 2007 calls for 17 named storms to form in
the Atlantic basin between June 1 and November 30, and that nine of
those storms will become hurricanes, five of which will develop
into major hurricanes (with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher)
with a 74% chance of a major storm making U.S. landfall, compared
with the average of 52% over the past 100 years. This forecast is
similar to that issued by Gray before the start of the 2006 season,
which turned out to a relatively weak and docile season, causing
Gray to tweak his original forecast several times. Last May Gray's
team forecast 17 named storms in 2006, including nine hurricanes,
five of them major ones. In reality, the 2006 season was considered
a "near normal" one by most counts. There were 10 named storms,
five hurricanes, two of them major ones but none hit the U.S.
Atlantic coast, only the 11th time that has occurred since 1945.
The explanation? Gray said a late and unexpected warming in the
Pacific Ocean called El Nino calmed the elements, which included
shifting wind patterns in the Atlantic, which disrupted hurricane
patterns. El Nino pretty much disappeared this past winter, setting
the stage for hurricane-conducive conditions that could show up as
headline-grabbers in the next few months.
INITIATIVES between the U.S. and the Netherlands Antilles
mean good news for meetings and convention planners. The agreement
allows U.S. taxpayers to claim a tax deduction for expenses
associated with a convention held in the Netherlands Antilles to
the same extent as a convention held in the US. The implementation
of the Tax Information Exchange Agreement means that the five
islands of the Netherlands Antilles -- Bonaire; Curacao; Saba; St.
Eustatius; and St. Maarten -- are considered part of the North
American area. (Aruba had previously been considered part of the
Netherlands Antilles until 1986 when it was granted a "status
apart" and became a separate part of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands.) Expenses incurred while attending conventions,
business meetings and seminars on the five islands are allowed as
deductions according to the same regulations as if each of the five
islands were a U.S. territory.
DATE for Martineau Bay Resort & Spa on Vieques, a
former Wyndham property which will debut as Starwood's first W
Hotel property in the Caribbean in 2008, was pushed back to Aug. 5
from April 9. The scheduled renovations, which will total $65
million when completed, cannot begin until mid-August, according to
Vieques Hotel Partners, the hotel's owners. The delay allows for
the current hotel staff to remain employed until the renovation
GRANDE, the new $160 million megayacht marina complex near
the cruise ship piers in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, opened to
fanfare and fireworks with more than 50 megayachts in attendance.
The opening culminated years of planning and construction and
erased forever the memories of Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 that
demolished the former hotel and piers on the site. Phase one of the
new complex includes a marina that can accommodate 50 yachts up to
450 feet long, three restaurants and 80,000 square feet of retail
space with high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Coach, Little
Switzerland and others. Also open are the Residences at Yacht Haven
Grande, a complex of 12 three-bedroom/three-bath condominium units,
each with two terraces and a plunge pool, priced from $2 million
each. Island Global Yachting, a management company that is part of
Island Capital Group, manages and operates Yacht Haven Grande as
well as marinas in St. Maarten, St. Lucia, the British Virgin
Islands, and Dubai. For details, visit www.igymarinas.com.
" 3rd annual
Plymouth Jazz Festival in Tobago, April 27 to 29, Fort
James/Plymouth Recreational Field. Scheduled musical performances
will be offered by Elton John, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Earth Wind
& Fire, LL Cool J, Beres Hammond and Heather Headley. For
details, visit www.tobagojazzfest.com.
" Caribbean Week,
June 9 to 19, New York City. Tropical music, food, fashion shows,
entertainment, two Caribbean weddings and the 34th annual
Governments of the Caribbean State Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria on
June 15 highlight the week-long series of consumer-focused events
and business meetings. The Caribbean Tourism Organization-sponsored
event culminates with the First Annual Caribbean Beach Volleyball
Tournament, where qualifying matches for the championship
tournament will be played in Long Beach, N.Y., on June 16 and 17.
For information, visit www.caribbeanweekny.com.
Editor: Gay Nagle Myers
Phone: (201) 902-1924
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].