Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Jan. 15, 2008

THE CARIBBEAN HOTEL ASSOCIATION'S Caribbean Marketplace 2008 is underway this week at Atlantis Paradise Island here, marking the seventh time that the annual conference has been hosted by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Bahamas Hotel Association. Peter Odle, CHA president, said that the 1,400 delegates in attendance "represent one of biggest Marketplace events to take place." The attendance figures include buyers, suppliers and more than 800 public- and private-sector tourism representatives from 36 Caribbean destinations. Hubert Ingraham, prime minister of the Bahamas, challenged the Caribbean region "to remain competitive as a destination of choice for the reduced number of U.S. travelers who will, no doubt, in 2008 be focused on value for their shrinking dollars more than ever before." Although tourism figures were flat for most of the region last year, Ingraham said that the Bahamas and other destinations "have been encouraged by signs of a reversal in this trend in the closing months of 2007 and we remain optimistic for 2008."


" JetBlue will launch daily nonstop service between New York (Kennedy) and St Maarten on Jan. 17, followed by service between Orlando and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 8 and between Orlando and Cancun, Mexico, on March 13. The carrier introduced daily nonstop service between Kennedy and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on Jan. 10.

" Grenadine Airways, a local commuter line based in St. Vincent, will launch roundtrip weekly Sunday service Jan. 27 on 19-seat Twin Otters to St. Lucia's Hewanorra International Airport with stops en route in Bequia and Union Island in the Grenadines. Additional fights will be added if there is sufficient demand, according to Paul Gravel, managing director, Grenadine Airways. Taking advantage of this new service, Palm Island resort will pick up the costs for the roundtrip flight from St. Lucia to Union Island for its guests through May 25, representing a savings of $500 per person.


" The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and Peter de Savary, founder and chairman of the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Managed Club, have restructured the ownership of the 534-acre island sanctuary in Abaco in the Bahamas. De Savary's investor group sold its remaining interests to RC Holding Co., an affiliate of Ritz-Carlton, although de Savary remains as chairman. The Abaco Club offers estate homes and cottages; 20 one-bedroom cabanas for stays for potential investors; and golf memberships in the Scottish-style links course on the island. The restructured ownership will bring additional Ritz signature services and expanded real estate development plans to fruition, according to Peter Watzka, executive vice president and CEO of Ritz-Carlton Development Co., another Ritz affiliate. For property details, visit

" New York-based Flag Luxury Properties, a developer of luxury resort and residential properties, named Starwood Capital Groups' Baccarat Hotels and Residences to operate its 114-room hotel, 18,800-square-foot spa and 50 oceanfront residences on Anguilla. The Baccarat Hotel and Residences at Temenos, Anguilla also will include 18 estate homes, 10 villas, 38 spa villas and a Greg Norman-designed golf course to complement the Temenos Golf Club, which opened in 2006. No timeline has been announced for the hotel opening.


" U.S. Virgin Islands-native Luana Wheatley will leave her post as the New York-based director of marketing for the U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association, a post she has held since 2005. Wheatley's departure is part of departmental structural changes taking place within the association. Her replacement has not been named. The association numbers 70 hotels and more than 250 other tourism-related businesses among its members.

" Charles Lindo was appointed deputy director of tourism for the St. Eustatius (Statia) Tourism Development Foundation. The newly created position entails technical support in the areas of management and training; implementation of training and educational programs; and serving as liaison with the island's hospitality sector. Lindo previously worked in the hospitality sectors in St. Maarten, Aruba, Curacao and California.

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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