PIERRE, minister of commerce, tourism, investment and
consumer affairs for St. Lucia, was named the new chairman of the
Caribbean Tourism Organization for a term of two years. Pierre
succeeds Pamela Richards, former CTO chairman and current
commissioner of tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Pierre's
appointment was announced at the opening ceremony of the 29th
annual Caribbean Tourism Conference taking place at the Westin and
Sheraton Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya Resorts on Oct. 22 by
outgoing chairman Richards. In his keynote address at the opening
ceremony, Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie exhorted CTO
delegates to "come together and speak with one voice" to resolve
the passport initiative set to take effect Jan. 8 whereby all those
entering or returning to the U.S. by air will be required to
present a valid passport. "We must persuade the Dept. of Homeland
Security to extend the deadline for passports to June 2009, the
same date as for cruise passengers. We must persuade the U.S. to
delay implementation for air travel until that date to level the
playing field," Christie said. He admitted that although "it is
late in the game, we must make contingency plans. It is not too
late to encourage more U.S. citizens to get passports now and to
lobby for the U.S. to waive expediting fees so that U.S. citizens
can obtain passports in days rather than weeks."
TOURIST BOARD, along with the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist
Association, launched a Passport to Rewards program aimed at the
estimated 80% of U.S. citizens who do not have a passport.
According to JTB figures, the U.S. market accounted for 786,000
visitors between January and July this year, or about 70% of the
island's total visitors. The initiatives are designed to encourage
travelers to apply for their passports as soon as possible.
Starting Nov. 15 and running through mid-March, free Blue Mountain
coffee and passport information will be handed out and passport
applications taken at commuter rail terminals in Chicago, New York
and Washington. Also, visitors who travel to Jamaica after Jan. 8
and have Jamaica stamped first in their passports will receive
special credits that equal the amount spent on the passport
application. The incentives include spa treatments, room upgrades,
greens fees, and more. The credit applies to all visitors who show
proof of the cost of a new passport. For a list of participating
hotels, visit www.visitjamaica.com/rewards.
" Air Jamaica said
it will stop paying base commissions on air-only bookings as of
Jan. 1. The airline currently pays 5%. The airline said it will
continue to pay commissions on vacation packages booked through Air
Jamaica Vacations or any other Air Jamaica-approved tour operator
" Trinidad and
Tobago-based Caribbean Airlines unveiled its new colors and logo as
it readies to replace 66-year-old BWIA on Jan. 1. The carrier's
logo features a green-and-blue hummingbird in flight. "Early
references to Trinidad refer to it as the land of the hummingbird,
making the symbol highly appropriate as an emblem for Caribbean
Airlines," said Peter Davies, CEO of BWIA. For details, visit www.caribbean-airlines.com.
" To mark Viva
Wyndham's 10th anniversary, its eight all-inclusive properties in
the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are offering
year-long promotions that target groups, families and the dive and
weddings markets. Tour leaders with groups of 10 or more receive a
room upgrade; guests in the group get 10% off at the gift shop,
business center and on excursions, spa services and dive
activities. Families celebrating a child's 10th birthday receive a
10% discount on the resort stay, and kids who are 10 years old when
visiting a resort stay free of charge. Couples celebrating a 10th
anniversary receive a free honeymoon package; guests who get dive
certified from January through November 2007 receive a 10% discount
on the certification fee, and couples who tie the knot from January
through November 2007 receive a 10% discount on wedding packages.
For details, visit www.vivawyndhamresorts.com.
" New for the
2006-2007 winter season at Antigua's Curtain Bluff resort, which
reopened Oct. 14 after its normal summer closure, are its spa on a
bluff and air-conditioning in its 72 guest rooms. The two-level,
4,500-square-foot spa facility officially opens in January and will
feature five treatment rooms, including one just for couples.
Additional features include waterfalls and open-air walkways, a
relaxation room, an outdoor hot tub and a signature caviar and
champagne massage. For details, visit www.curtainbluff.com.
Phone: (201) 902-1591
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].