OUT OF AIR JAMAICA: Caribbean
all-inclusive resort kingpin Gordon "Butch" Stewart, along with his
Air Jamaica Acquisition Group (AJAG), pulled out of Jamaican flag
carrier Air Jamaica. The government of Jamaica has assumed sole
ownership and management of the carrier, which accounts for 51% of
air traffic into the island; private partners, including AJAG, had
controlled about 78% of Air Jamaica stock. All AJAG members of the
board of directors and Air Jamaica Holdings -- including chairman
Stewart and ceo and deputy chairman Chris Zacca -- stepped down Dec. 23. A
new 10-member interim board appointed by the government to serve
through June 30 includes Paul Pennicook, executive director of the
Jamaica Tourist Board in Kingston. In an internal memo to airline
staff, Stewart said "ongoing turbulence" in the airline industry
had "imposed tremendous strain" on AJAG resources for 10 years,
rendering its continued involvement "untenable." But Jamaican
minister of finance Omar Davies said Stewart -- who financed most
of the $27 million AJAG paid for a stake in Air Jamaica in a 1994
privatization -- agreed to invest another $20 million in the
struggling airline for working capital and to write down debt.
Davies also said the Jamaican government will back $25 million in
loans to Air Jamaica to finance restructuring, with an eye toward
attracting "equity capital from private investors."
SUPERCLUBS opened the
97-room Rooms, its highly anticipated continental-plan property in
Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Rooms is designed to cater to business
travelers and leisure visitors looking for an affordable base from
which to set off on excursions, according to resort officials.
"We're keeping pace with the tastes of the North American
marketplace, giving today's savvy, independent-minded travelers as
many vacation options as possible," said John Issa, executive
chairman. Rooms is being marketed as an affiliate brand of
SuperClubs, similar to the chain's Starfish Resorts, also in
Jamaica. The beachfront property, on Main Street in Ocho Rios,
features four room categories; guest amenities include satellite
TV, high-speed Internet access
and an Internet cafe. Other amenities include a pool
with a swim-up bar, a fitness center, a tour desk and two meeting
rooms. Rates start at $94 through
April 3, single or double, with a two-night
minimum requirement. Agents earn 13%.
For details, visit www.roomsresorts.com.
" MLT Vacations pays
20% commission on air and hotel packages to Jamaica booked by Jan.
15 via www.worryfreevacations.com for travel anytime.
Agents must use promotional code WF5326.
" The new Casa
Colonial Beach & Spa Resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
offers a three-night Vision of Love getaway, priced from $1,300 per
couple that includes champagne, strawberries and flowers on
arrival, accommodations, one beachside couples massage, and one
dinner for two. The package is valid for
travel from Feb. 7 through 20; the all-suite property opened in
November. For details, visit www.vhvacations.com.
" US Airways
Vacations' new Spring for SuperClubs promotion offers all room
categories for one price at SuperClubs in Jamaica, Nassau and Punta
Cana. The three-night packages must be booked by Jan. 31 for travel
April 1 through June 15. Rates cover roundtrip air, accommodations,
transfers, meals, drinks, sports, tax and service charges. For
rates and details, call (800) 455-0123.
" The BodyHoliday at
LeSport, St. Lucia, offers an early booking discount of $350 per
person for seven-night reservations made by Feb. 28 for stays from
May 15 through Oct. 29 in a luxury ocean view or higher room. Daily
rates range from $275 to $363 per person, double; rates cover
accommodations, meals, drinks, sports, treatments at the Oasis,
hotel taxes and tips. For details, visit www.thebodyholiday.com.
" Riu Hotels &
Resorts opened its 23rd hotel in the Americas region on Dec. 18,
the all-inclusive, 379-room Riu Paradise Island. Riu also has eight
properties in the Dominican Republic, two each in Jamaica and
Florida and 10 in Mexico. The Riu Ocho Rios in Jamaica will open
next November as the 24th Riu resort. For rates, visit www.riu.com.
" The Westin at Our
Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort on Grand Bahamas reopened for the
holiday season, following renovations and repairs from the fall
hurricanes. For 2005, the Westin offers its Dream Passport to
Savings package that includes accommodations and savings on dining,
shopping, resort activities and island adventures. For package
details, call (866) 500-0277 and mention Promo Code: