Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Aug. 14, 2007

THE CARIBBEAN MARKET has gone soft, the apparent result of the changed U.S. passport policy and economic uncertainties, such as the drop in housing values, according to tourism officials and hoteliers. Business from U.S. travelers, who constitute the largest source market for the Caribbean, has declined as much as 10% this year in some destinations, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, although tourism officials admitted that it was difficult to cite specific numbers in terms of visitor fall off because reporting periods differ by destination. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the CTO's secretary general, said that the effects of the passport initiative "as well as the processing problems experienced by the passport bureau -- as we anticipated from the beginning -- will continue to have a negative effect on the Caribbean over time." Hugh Riley, the CTO's director of marketing for the Americas, also cited the negative effects of the softened U.S. housing market, especially on the "middle America market, which affects their ability to travel." CTO will examine new markets and the development of strategies to diversify business sources and to guard against sharp declines in major source markets at the annual Caribbean Tourism Conference in San Juan in October.

CAYMAN AIRWAYS will execute the second stage of its new flight plan with the launch of its winter schedule on Nov. 9. The initial stage was set in motion June 24 with the introduction of the carrier's twice-weekly nonstop service between New York (Kennedy) and Grand Cayman. For the winter, Cayman Airways will resume seasonal, twice-weekly service on Thursdays and Sundays from Chicago, increase its New York service to four flights a week and add a fifth weekly flight on Feb. 9. Other schedule enhancements include daily service from Tampa and an increase in flights between Grand Cayman and Kingston, Jamaica, from 12 to 14 a week. The carrier also will permanently suspend its service from Houston to Grand Cayman. The flights already had been suspended for September and October. Advance booking forecasts indicated low loads throughout the winter, according to Patrick Strasburger, CEO. "We do not expect to re-enter this market in the medium term but will concentrate on more productive routes." Cayman Airways is working with Continental and other airline partners to rebook ticketed passengers, both to/from Houston and those connecting in Houston.

THE O PROPERTY COLLECTION will break ground late this year on the Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay, a $1 billion private island development in the Turks and Caicos, 20 minutes by boat from Providenciales. The first phase of the project on the southwestern shore of the previously uninhabited 2.24-square-mile Dellis Cay will cover 35 acres and will include the 120-room Mandarin Oriental beachfront hotel, private villas and residences, a marina with 110 boat slips and a 22,000-square-foot spa, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, which will be built over a lake. The grand opening of the first phase is scheduled for the fall of 2009. For details, visit www.delliscay.com.

LESS THAN THREE MONTHS after its opening, Grenada's nine-villa Paradise Bay Resort, with its signature utility-grade windmill producing the energy necessary to run the resort, has taken its energy-conservation policy to a new level. The property will launch a "carbon neutral" program this fall, according to James Post, owner and managing director. Guests will receive carbon credit certificates attesting to the levels and amounts of carbon dioxide emissions produced by their flights to Grenada and during their stay at the resort. To offset the emissions, projects will be undertaken by the resort to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, Post said. Additional details will be released shortly. To contact the resort, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.paradisebayresort.net.

Caribbean Editor: Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1924

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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