Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Jan. 30, 2007

CLUB MED BUCCANEER'S CREEK in Martinique is not accepting new reservations through Feb. 9 while management officials sort through a French labor dispute involving operational staff that has temporarily closed the 293-room resort since Jan. 25. However, Buccaneer's Creek will re-open as soon as an agreement is reached, which could be well before Feb. 9, according to Kate Moeller, Club Med spokesperson. The action has not affected any of Club Med's four other Caribbean properties in the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic as well as Club Med La Caravelle on the French island of Guadeloupe. The strike, which began Jan. 25 over a dispute involving French labor laws and how workers would divide up their 35-hour work weeks, affected all operational employees, such as housekeepers, laundry room personnel, and kitchen staff, among others. Club Med arranged for other accommodations on Martinique or rerouted guests who wished to leave for home. Guests also were offered a stay at another Club Med in the Caribbean with reimbursement of the difference in price, if any, between the two resorts. Buccaneer's Creek reopened in December 2005, following a $60 million, 18-month makeover. The resort -- the oldest of the Club Med villages in the Caribbean -- originally opened in 1969 and operated for $35 years without a pool or in-room telephone.

CARIBBEAN TOURISM officials unveiled the Caribbean Tourism Development Co. at the 28th annual Caribbean Hotel Association Marketplace in Aruba. Described as a private, for-profit entity designed to promote and protect the Caribbean brand, CTDC is jointly owned and operated by the CHA and the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Each organization has a 50% share in the company; the board of directors is chaired by Peter Odle, CHA president, and Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, CTO secretary general, as well as top officials in each organization. "It's taken us a while to get here, but now we have one company responsible for marketing the Caribbean," said Allen Chastanet, CTO chairman and minister of tourism for St. Lucia. "The Caribbean is one brand, and we all live and die by this brand."

TO FURTHER THE ONE-BRAND initiative among its travel trade partners, the CTDC will launch "Caribbean Travel -- The Magazine" in April to replace the Caribbean Gold Book, published twice a year by Gold Book Publishing, the publishing arm of the CHA, with information and data supplied by more than 1,100 CHA-member properties. In its new format, the publication, which Gold Book will publish each April and October, will offer more regional and destination editorial content, updated hotel listings from 32 Caribbean destinations and an enhanced distribution to more than 24,000 IATA agencies, including 2,700 home-based agents. Simultaneously, the new regional Web site jointly managed by the CHA and the CTO through the CTDC will come online at the agent-accessible site, powered by Travelocity. CHA's current Web site at and CTO's site at will remain as member information sites.


" Spirit Airlines' route network is growing faster than the list of 2008 presidential wannabes. On the heels of announcements of new service from its Fort Lauderdale hub to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Spirit will launch nonstop service three times a week to St. Maarten on April 20. The carrier also just ordered 30 more A319 aircraft from Airbus, for delivery between 2009 and 2013. Combined with existing orders, that would bring to fleet to 70 aircraft, up from 33 today.

" Merger partners LIAT and Caribbean Star published a combined schedule that takes effect Feb. 1. It maintains service to the 22 destinations previously served by both carriers, but all flights are listed under LIAT's LI designator code. Beginning Feb. 1, all passengers must check in at LIAT counters except in Curacao and Tobago, where check-in will be at Caribbean Star counters. To contact Caribbean Star, call (800) 723-1111 or visit LIAT customers should call (866) 549-5428 or visit


" St. Patrick's Day celebrations, March 12 to 19, Montserrat. Feasts, parades, concerts and outdoor theater productions commemorate the slave uprising that occurred on Montserrat on St. Patrick's Day in 1768. For details, visit

" 3rd Annual Plymouth Jazz Festival, April 27 to 29, the Fort James/Plymouth Recreational Field in Tobago. Headliners include Elton John, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Earth Wind & Fire, LL Cool J, Beres Hammond and Heather Headley. For details, visit

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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