Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: May 26, 2005

THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM Organization kicks off its annual Caribbean Week in New York on Sunday, May 29 with a week-long series of consumer and trade events around town designed to raise awareness of and visibility for Caribbean travel, culture, customs and people. Events include an Interfaith Celebration on May 29, the Caribbean Fair and Cultural Celebration with a live Caribbean wedding on May 31 at the South Street Seaport, Media Marketplace on June 1 at the Hilton New York, and the 32nd annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball on June 3 at the Waldorf-Astoria. Cooking demonstrations by guest chefs from the Caribbean will take place throughout the week at the Time Warner Center, Bloomingdales, Macys and the U.N. Specific details are available at www.caribbeanweekny.com.

LODGEPODGE

" Hilton Caribbean will unveil its 14th property the 350-room Hilton Barbados on June 6. The resort sits on the site of the old Hilton outside Bridgetown, which was demolished to make room for the new. Facilities include in-room, high-speed Internet access and data ports. The hotels meeting facilities are the largest on the island. The Hilton Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic will open in late June as Hiltons 15th Caribbean property.

For details, visit www.hiltoncaribbean.com/barbados.

"The 420-room Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, closed since April 29 as a result of water damage from rainstorms, reset its re-opening date from June 6 to July 1. Repairs to the switchboard system are taking longer than expected, a spokeswoman said.

HALF MOON RESORT in Montego Bay, Jamaica will unveil its new Web site in June [www.halfmoon.com] and continue its five-year, multi-million-dollar facelift this summer with a re-do of the front nine holes of the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf course, which will re-open in October. The new travel agent section of the Web site is password-protected and offers on-line bookings through Synxis booking engine. The property, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, kicked off an upscale branding campaign this spring with ads targeted at affluent travelers and niche markets.

TAKEOFF

" Air Jamaica will suspend its service to Bonaire in two phases this summer. In Phase 1, Air Jamaicas flights 66/67 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays will be suspended June 27. In Phase 2, all remaining Jamaica service will be suspended Aug. 28. The carrier will continue to serve Curacao from Jamaica. The moves are the latest in a restructuring program that began last December to reduce operating costs in the face of record-high fuel prices and increased competition.

" Spirit Airlines will add nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and Montego Bay Nov. 10 and between Fort Lauderdale and Kingston, Jamaica Dec. 15. The line also announced a new nonstop flight between Orlando and Nassau, beginning Nov. 10.

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