PLEASANT HOLIDAYS will re-introduce a Caribbean program, available for booking March 31, with custom packages to Jamaica, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Aruba. The operator, which shuttered its Caribbean program in July 2004 after only two years in the market, has partnered with 80 hotels and resorts in the region, including properties under the Sandals, Beaches, Riu, Ritz-Carlton, Atlantis, Sol Melia, Four Seasons, Occidental, Sheraton and Dreams brands. Air Jamaica, Delta, United and U.S. Airways are among the key airline partners for the Caribbean program, while Hertz will serve as the exclusive car rental partner. Pleasant will also offer ground transportation and destination activities. Pleasant said it has been building the new program since last November when Jeffrey Lee came aboard as the new director of Caribbean products. Lee had been Caribbean product director for Classic Vacations. According to Jack Richards, Pleasant's president and CEO, "we're focusing on those islands that generate 80% of the total revenue (from the U.S.)." The new Caribbean print and online brochures will be available in April. Agents will earn 16% commission on bookings made between April 1 and May 31 at www.pleasantagent.com.
DELTA AIR LINES is teaming with Travel Impressions to provide Delta Vacations packages, a move that ends Delta Vacations' 28-year partnership with Certified Vacations. Travel Impressions will begin providing customized travel packages via Delta Vacations on July 1. Delta Vacations offers more than 150 destinations, including North, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Delta Vacations also will debut a new Web site, which will have its own URL as well as a link on Delta Air Lines' site. Certified will continue to operate Delta Vacations to July 1, when existing Delta Vacations bookings, customer service, databases and contact numbers will be rolled over to Travel Impressions.
• RockResorts International will manage the Third Turtle Club & Spa on Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. The property, which is scheduled to open in 2011, will offer units from one to four bedrooms with ocean or marina views. Facilities will feature infinity pools, beach cabanas, restaurants, waterfalls, a Zen garden, a spa, a fitness center, tennis courts, a beach club and up to 40 boat slips. RockResorts also operates The Landings in St. Lucia and will open Rum Cay Hotel & Spa in the Bahamas in 2010.
• Also in the Turks and Caicos, Miami-based Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts will debut its first Caribbean resort complex with the April 5 opening of the $100 million Nikki Beach Resort Turks & Caicos on the northeastern tip of Providenciales. The luxury property is the first of the firm's 15 planned hotels and resorts that are scheduled to open over the next few years in 12 countries, including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Thailand, Qatar, Jordan, Spain, Costa Rica, Bali, Colombia and the Untied Arab Emirates. Phase one of Nikki Beach Resort Turks & Caicos includes a 48-room resort with a beach club, a VIP lounge and a mega-yacht marina. Phase two, which will open in 2010, will feature an additional 110-room resort, a casino and a spa.
HARRAH'S ENTERTAINMENT terminated its joint-venture agreement with Baha Mar Development Co. to build a $2.6 billion resort complex in Nassau, Bahamas. Harrah's, which was a 43% minority partner in the project with Baha Mar Development owning 57%, claimed that Baha Mar had "taken much longer than anticipated to organize the projects, and circumstances have changed such that it is simply not prudent to move forward." The joint venture called for a Caesars resort casino with more than 1,000 guest rooms and a 100,000-square-foot gaming area, expected to be the largest casino in the Caribbean when completed. In addition, separate management agreements between Harrah's and Starwood Hotels & Resorts called for four hotels with the W, St. Regis, Westin and Sheraton brands. Baha Mar said it is committed to moving forward with the project. "If necessary we will explore all options, in partnership with the government of the Bahamas, to complete the projects in a responsible fashion to benefit the people and the economy of the Bahamas."
Caribbean Editor: Gay Nagle Myers
Phone: (201) 902-1924
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