Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: July 14, 2005

ST. 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.

FALL FARE 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.


 

LODGEPODGE

" The 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 www.hiltoncaribbean.com/santodomingo.

" 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.


 

TAKEOFFS

" Continental 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.

THEME 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.

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