TOURISM Organization is fighting to postpone until 2008 or
mid-2009 a regulation requiring U.S. travelers to have a passport
to re-enter the country, but it is telling its members to prepare
for the worst, according to Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary
general. The passport requirement is scheduled to go into effect on
Jan. 8, 2007. The CTO will take "full advantage" of the Sept. 24
deadline set by the government for public comments on the
initiative. "The pickup of new passports has been nowhere near the
numbers that we would like to see. There has to be an extensive
campaign to let a lot more people know about this new requirement,"
Vanderpool-Wallace said. Nevertheless, the CTO is urging members to
prepare for implementation of the initiative in January. The issue
promises to be a hot one at the upcoming Caribbean Tourism
Conference in Grand Bahama Oct. 22 to 25.
CARIBBEAN Hotel Association launched its new logo and
corporate identity, after 46 years without making any substantial
images changes or identity updates. The new logo resembles a star
fish in design, and the tropical colors represent the diversity of
cultures and languages of the region, according to Alec
Sanguinetti, director general and CEO. "An organization's logo is
its face to the world. It was time for a significant makeover to
better reflect today's Caribbean hotel and tourism sector,"
Sanguinetti said. Along with the CHA's new logo comes a new online
presence, at www.caribbeanhotelassociation.com. The site will
contain members-only sections and links to Caribbean national hotel
associations and partner organizations plus information about CHA
presented in a user-friendly manner. All components of the CHA's
new brand identity, including the debut of the "CHA Weekly News"
bulletin, will display the "Caribbean" logo launched last October
as part of the new joint CHA/Caribbean Tourism Organization
TOURIST BOARD named Basil Smith director of tourism, after
an intensive search following the resignation in May of Paul
Pennicook from the director's post. Smith, whose term of office
officially begins Nov. 1, is a Jamaican national currently serving
as senior director, communications, worldwide for the Bahamas
Ministry of Tourism. Formerly, he served as executive vice
president of the Bahamas Hotel Association, director of a Jamaica
public relations agency and Jamaica's deputy director of tourism.
Donnie Dawson, currently serving as interim director of tourism,
will continue in that role until Smith assumes this
" The Divi Group,
which operates 11 Divi Resorts on six Caribbean islands, including
two all-inclusive properties on Aruba, will build the first
all-inclusive resort on Bonaire. Construction is slated to begin
next spring with completion set for the end of 2008. The hotel firm
already has the 129-room Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino on
Bonaire. For details, visit www.diviresorts.com.
Couples Resorts will add a fifth all-inclusive resort in the parish
of Trelawny on the island's north coast, halfway between Montego
Bay and Ocho Rios. The $370 million resort, which represents an
investment of $57 million, will be built on 38 acres of land owned
by Lee Issa, Couples Resorts' chairman. Construction is slated for
completion in 2008. Couples currently has two resorts each in
Negril and Ocho Rios. For details, visit www.couples.com.