MAARTEN unveiled its 10-year tourism master plan at an
on-island summit July 6 convened by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.
Regina LaBega, director, said that TourMap -- the plan that charts St.
Maartens development in the next decade -- has been in the works
since last August and involved numerous tourism partners, community
councils, youth organizations, government officials and
representatives from the neighboring Leeward Islands. Keynote
speaker at the TourMap summit, whose theme was Were Going Places,
was Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general of the Caribbean
Tourism Organization, who praised St. Maarten for its strategic
planning and for recognizing the factors that affect worldwide
tourism and travel. Romeo Fleming, deputy mayor, tourism, for
French St. Martin, accentuated the need for both parts of the
two-nation island to work together for mutual success. Theo
Heyliger, St. Maartens commissioner of economic affairs and tourism
said that, we have a direction which will pay off for our industry.
Full details can be viewed at www.st-maarten.com, www.sxmtmp.com and at the TourMap webzine at www.houseofnehesipublish.com.
SALES are underway. Club Med and American Airlines offer
savings up to 35% at Club Med villages in the Turks and Caicos, the
Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe for seven-night air and land
bookings made by July 29 for select travel dates from Sept. 3 to
Dec. 16. Rates start at $1,074 per adult, double. The same offer
and dates apply to bookings with US Airways at Club Med in the
Turks and Caicos and the DR with rates from $1,037. For details,
visit www.clubmed.com. Air Jamaica Vacations has
savings up to 35% on three- or seven-night air-inclusive packages
to Jamaica, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, Grenada and
Nassau for bookings made by July 29 for travel through Dec. 16.
Commission is 13%. For details, visit www.vaxvacationaccess.com. Gogo Worldwide
Vacations and American offer reduced rates at more than 250 hotels
in more than 30 Caribbean destinations for bookings made by July 29
for travel to Dec. 16. Four-, five- and seven-night plans are
priced from $499 per person, double, including air from New York.
Other gateways are available. For details, visit www.gogowwv.com.
228-room Hilton Santo Domingo opened July 12 on the
Malecon waterfront in the 15,000-square-foot Malecon Center complex
in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The property is Hilton
Internationals 14th Caribbean hotel. For rates and details, visit
" Curacaos new
44-villa Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, sister
property to the historic Hotel Kura Hulanda in Willemstad, will
open next month on the islands west end. Rates start at $150 per
night. Transportation will be offered between the beachfront resort
and the in-town hotel, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage
Village site. For details visit www.kurahulanda.com.
Airlines has zeroed in on the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire,
Curacao) with new year-round nonstop services to each island this
winter. Effective Dec. 17, the line will offer a nonstop Saturday
flight from New York (LaGuardia) to Aruba. The flight will depart
LaGuardia at 7:50 a.m., arriving in Aruba at 1:20 p.m.; the return
flight will depart Aruba at 2:30 p.m., arriving at LaGuardia at
6:15 p.m. On Dec. 16, Continental will offer a Friday nonstop
flight from Houston to Bonaire. The flight will depart Houston at
11:30 p.m., arriving in Bonaire on Saturday at 6:15 a.m. The return
flight will depart Bonaire on Saturday at 8 a.m. and arrive in
Houston at 10:50 a.m. Continental also will launch Saturday nonstop
service between Newark and Curacao, beginning Dec. 17. The flight
will depart Newark at 8:50 a.m., arriving in Curacao at 2:35 p.m.;
the return flight will depart Curacao at 3:20 p.m., arriving in
Newark at 7:20 p.m.
American reduced its daily nonstop service between
JFK and Haiti to one flight from two, cancelled one of its four
daily Miami-Haiti flights and will cut another on Aug. 23. Although
the carrier called these cuts seasonal adjustments, it remains to
be seen if enough demand later this year warrants reinstatement of
any or all of the flights, the airline said.
OF the 28th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-28)
in the U.S. Virgin Islands Oct. 21 to 26 is Tourism -- The Business of the
Caribbean. Host hotel is the Marriott Frenchmans Reef and Morning
Star Beach Resort in St. Thomas. Updates and conference information
can be found at www.onecaribbean.org.