Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: Nov. 20, 2007

THE 428-ROOM HYATT REGENCY TRINIDAD will open for business on Dec. 31 with the official grand opening ceremony slated for Jan. 18. The property, located in the Port of Spain International Waterfront Center, is geared to the business and commercial markets, and will welcome its first convention group on Jan. 2. The Hyatt is the venue for the annual Caribbean Hotel & Investment Conference from May 6 to 8, according to Russell George, general manager and has bid on hosting the annual Caribbean Tourism Organization's Caribbean Tourism Conference in October. With 48,000 square feet of meetings space, two ballrooms, and translation booths, the Hyatt can handle up to 1,400 people for a sit-down banquet. Facilities include a 9,000-square-foot spa, Internet access in all guest rooms (a nominal daily charge will apply), an infinity pool, a restaurant, a deli/bakery store and a lobby bar. Online reservations, at www.trinidad.hyatt.com, opened earlier this month and advance bookings are "quite strong especially for the Carnival period in early February," according to George. Two high-rise office towers will open next door to the Hyatt in 2008, marking the locale as the financial center of Trinidad. Hyatt has properties in Aruba and Grand Cayman and will open a property in Curacao in 2009.

ARUBA'S TOURISM NUMBERS through July grew 4.17% from the U.S. market over the same period last year, according to figures released by the Aruba Tourism Authority. The increase translated to 12,497 additional U.S. stayover travelers; worldwide numbers jumped 6.88% through July over last year. "The year 2007 has been a resoundingly successful year for Aruba's tourism industry," said Myrna Jansen, ATA's managing director. Key hotel developments on Aruba include: a $40 million enhancement project at the 413-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, which will be completed by next summer; the second phase of a $16 million renovation at the Westin Aruba Resort, which will be finished by the end of the year; a $15 million, three-year makeover at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Aruba, which is nearly complete; the opening of the 450-room Riu Palace Aruba in July; and the $20 million renovation at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino. New airlift includes JetBlue's nonstop service from Boston three times a week, American's five weekly nonstop flights from Boston, and Spirit's Saturday flight from Fort Lauderdale. United will increase service from Washington (Dulles) to six times a week, effective Dec. 15.

TAKEOFFS

" Delta will offer nonstop Saturday service from Atlanta to Curacao, effective Dec. 22. The flight will depart Atlanta at 9:45 a.m., arriving in Curacao at 3:10 p.m. The return flight will leave Curacao at 4 p.m., arriving in Atlanta at 7:40 p.m.

" Air Jamaica added additional flights during the upcoming holiday period, from Dec. 15 to Jan. 8. The carrier added more than 50 flights between New York (Kennedy) and Jamaica, and increased its departures from Kennedy to Grenada from four weekly, one-stop flights to six weekly nonstops. The New York-St. Lucia route increased to six one-stop flights per week from three. Intra-Caribbean connections also have been upped, including six weekly flights from Montego Bay to St. Lucia, up from three; and six weekly flights from Montego Bay to Grenada, up from four. Flights from Newark to Montego Bay will continue on to Kingston with no change-of-plane during the holiday period.

PENCIL IT IN

" Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, Jan. 24 to 26, Rose Hall Resort & Country Club in Montego Bay. Headliners include Diana Ross, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Hugh Masekela, Beres Hammond, Marjorie Whylie, Ryan Shaw and Yerba Buena. Packages are available. For details, visit www.airjamaicajazzandblues.com.

" 15th Annual Dive Fest, July 11 to 20, Dominica. Activities will take place along the island's east coast from Scotts Head to Portsmouth, as well as at selected locations around the island. For details, visit www.discoverdominica.com.

Caribbean Editor: Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1924

[email protected]

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