Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: May 22, 2007

THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS' Dept. of Tourism, under the direction of Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson Doty, unveiled new initiatives at its annual Destination Symposium in St. Thomas for more than 100 hoteliers, tour operators and airline representatives. The initiatives include increasing air arrivals by 6%, or 40,000 visitors, in the next 12 months over the 671,000 arrivals in 2006; closing the USVI's six mainland U.S. offices (with the exception of Washington), beginning with the Los Angeles office by June 1; hiring more sales reps to call on agents and operators; redesigning the destination's Web site, www.usvitourism.vi, to make it more user-friendly; and targeting specific segments of the travel market, including dive, romance, meetings and incentives, African Americans and baby boomers. In addition, the Dept. of Tourism launched a Web site at www.usvi-ideas.com on May 14, which allows all interested parties to present ideas on how to improve the local tourism industry.

BONAIRE LAUNCHED a tourism awareness initiative that will be implemented over the next three years on an island-wide basis. "By encouraging our residents to make the extra effort in welcoming our visitors, we hope to see a continued growth in visitors," said Ronella Croes, director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. Components of the program already in place include the official slogan "Smile, Boneiru ta Dushi," which means "Smile, Bonaire is Sweet;" a new 30-second jingle playing on local radio stations; and a mascot named Mama Smile, who promotes tourism awareness on the island.

LODGEPODGE

" The 18-villa, boutique-style Agua Resort & Spa opened recently in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The villas house a total of 53 suites and are loaded with upscale amenities, including Frette linens, a pillow menu, Wi-Fi access and Korres bath products. The resort offers 24-hour butler service, two restaurants and lounges, two pools and a full-service spa. For details, visit www.aguaresort.com.

" The all-inclusive Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Resort opened May 18 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The beachfront property has 334 rooms and 32 suites, an array of sports activities, a kids' club, several restaurants and a spa. The resort is Iberostar's first in Jamaica; elsewhere in the Caribbean, the hotel firm has five properties in the Dominican Republic, seven in Mexico and four in Cuba. For details, visit www.iberostar.com.

PENCIL IT IN

" Caribbean Week in New York 2007, June 9 to 17, New York City. Events include a Celebrity Cricket match and a Caribbean Gospel Fest June 9; gospel performances June 10; Celebrity Chef demonstrations throughout the week; Town Hall meetings June 11; the Caribbean Fair & Vacation Mart June 12; the Caribbean Media Marketplace June 13; the 34th Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball June 15; and the Caribbean Beach Volleyball Tournament June 16 and 17. For a complete schedule, visit www.caribbeanweekny.com.

" Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Conference and Taste of the Caribbean, June 17 to 19, Hyatt Regency, Miami. For conference details, visit www.caribbeanhotels.org.

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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