Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: May 5, 2005

THE 420-ROOM Ritz Carlton Rose Hall in Jamaica is temporarily closed until May 19 as a result of water damage incurred from torrential downpours April 27. The property, which was close to 100% full at the time of the rainstorm, immediately relocated guests to other properties in Jamaica. Guests who had to cut short their vacations are being rebooked at a later date. The Ritz Carlton closed April 29 after officials determined that the resort's operational areas on the ground floor, including the laundry facilities, and electrical and telephone lines were too damaged to immediately reopen the resort. "We closed to facilitate a proper cleanup and repair," a spokeswoman said. "It's a temporary setback." Guests holding current reservations are being rebooked to other Ritz properties in Miami and the Caribbean or have postponed their travels until the Rose Hall property reopens. For further information, call (786) 470-3400.

THE CARIBBEAN HOTEL Association signed an alliance with Global Booking Solutions to launch an air-inclusive booking engine for CHA's member hotels. Each hotel that signs on to the program pays an annual membership fee, based on hotel room count, as well as a booking transaction fee of 11% on the hotel component of the package. Non-CHA members are charged up to 15%. The initial product offering is directed towards consumers who will book air, hotel and land through the hotel's own website. Within six months, a travel agency platform will be available, according to CHA's director general Alec Sanguinetti. "Global Booking Solutions secured contract bulk fares from numerous carriers for packaging with the land component, so that clients and agents have access to exclusive low fares," he said. Global Booking Solutions is a division of the Troni Marketing Group, headed by Bob Troni, former managing director, international sales and marketing for American Airlines. "Global Booking Solutions was established so that hotels could offer the air component of a vacation to clients visiting their websites. With this program, hotels can now take back control of their rooms and rates at a much lower cost," Troni said. For further details, visit www.caribbeanhotels.org and click on Global Booking Solutions or call (954) 473-8901.

ROLODEX

" Karen Ford-Warner, formerly acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, has been named head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica.

" Jacqueline Johnson, an executive of the Fairchild Bridal Group, is the new chairperson of the CTO Foundation, the scholarship program of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

CONSTRUCTION has begun on Marriotts Frenchmans Cove in St. Thomas Marriott Vacation Club Internationals first venture in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The 220-villa site is scheduled to open in December 2006; rooms will be placed in a rental pool when not owner-occupied. The timeshare property is located close to the 504-room Frenchmans Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. Facilities at the vacation club will include three pools, a kids center, pool bar and grill, a convenience store and picnic areas. For details, visit www.stthomas.vacationclub.com.

CLUB MED unveiled a new hurricane protection program, which provides guests with a future travel certificate if category one winds (74 to 95 mph) impact the resort during their stay. The certificate covers the value of the land portion of their trip for the number of days the wind blows and is good for up to a year at Club Meds eight resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida and Colorado. In addition, Club Med enhanced its travel insurance and protection program to include cancel for any reason coverage. The program is part of the firm's new up-market strategy "to exceed the expectations and demands of our current clients and new travelers," said John Vanderslice, president and CEO.

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