VANDERPOOL-WALLACE, the new secretary general of the
Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), was the feature presentation
at the 28th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-28), held in
held in St. Thomas Oct. 21 to 26 and attended by 700 delegates,
including tourism ministers, directors, government officials and 85
U.S. travel agents. During his speech, he charted the future of CTO
and his goal to establish the Caribbean region "as the world's best
known owned brand." Integral to his business plan is the
private-public partnership forged with the Caribbean Hotel
Association (CHA) and made official at a signing ceremony Oct. 23
in St. Thomas. "When two-high powered entities pledge to join
forces and establish the Caribbean together as the world's
best-known brand, everyone benefits," he said.
THE SIGNING OF
THE 14-POINT Memorandum of Understanding between Pamela
Richards, CTO chairman and commissioner of tourism for the U.S.
Virgin Islands, and Berthia Parle, CHA president. Both sides hailed
the agreement as a long overdue step that will make it possible to
move forward as one Caribbean toward a common set of goals. Tangible evidence of the single Caribbean
brand will include a new logo; a single consumer web site at www.Caribbean.com that includes links to travel agent
specialists; a single membership site; and a Caribbean-branded
credit card. Other planned initiatives: an official Caribbean Life
magazine to promote the region; Caribbean awards for innovative
tourism projects; use of the new logo in all Caribbean-related
advertising and promotion; and joint trade and consumer
IN OTHER NEWS
tourism officials attending the 28th annual Caribbean
Tourism Conference (CTC-28) in St. Thomas kept a wary eye on
Wilma's path as it tracked over the Yucatan and on through Florida.
In fact, the impact of the storm kept officials from CTO-members
Cuba and Cancun, Mexico, from attending the conference altogether.
The subject of hurricanes and their impact on regional tourism was
an issue raised again and again at the conference.
effort to attract more agents to its Travel Expert
specialist program, Puerto Rico has gone online with its program.
Agents who log on to www.gotopuertorico.com/travelagent can enroll in the
program and become certified specialists once they complete the
campaigns herald the winter season in the Caribbean.
Puerto Rico will unveil its campaign Nov. 3, which is wrapped
around the slogan "Explore Beyond the Shore," signaling an effort
to move tourism beyond San Juan. St. Lucia's $6.5 million promotion
focuses on the island's natural beauty, lushness and diversity. A
key component of the campaign is the Joe Cocker song "You Are So
Beautiful," which is used as a voiceover in its TV and radio ads
and as a slogan in the print and billboard ads.
MARTINIQUE launched a $1.2 million branding
and promotional blitz targeted at the U.S. market and tied into the
islands new air service, the debut of a renovated Club Med and the
introduction of tour operator incentives tied to package programs.
Martinique hoteliers are offering U.S. tour operators an equal
euro-to-dollar exchange rate on their Martinique programs this
winter, according to Muriel Wiltord-Latamie, director, U.S. and
Latin America for the Martinique Promotion Bureau. The official
currency in Martinique is the euro. This is a very clear signal
that Martinique is ready and willing to work with U.S. operators
and we want their business, Wiltord-Latamie said. On the air front,
American Eagle will launch nonstop service between San Juan and
Fort-de-France, Martinique, on Dec. 15. The flight will operate
Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays using 64-seat Super ATR
aircraft. The flight will depart San Juan at 12:42 p.m., arriving
in Fort-de-France at 2:47 p.m.; the return flight leaves Martinique
at 3:12 p.m., arriving in Puerto Rico at 5:22 p.m. Additional new
airlift includes new Martinique-based Take Air Lines, which, in an
arrangement with Air Caraibes, will offer daily flights from St.
Lucias Hewannora International Airport to Martinique. The flight
times allow connections with flights arriving from the U.S.
MEANWHILE, Club Med will debut its $60
million Buccaneers Creek resort Dec. 17, the same day that its
weekly nonstop charter service with North American Airlines begins
from New Yorks Kennedy airport to Martinique. The resort, which
underwent a 20-month, from-the-ground-up renovation, includes a
5,000-square-foot infinity pool, a spa, three restaurants and bars
and a range of water sports and activities. The 293 guest rooms
feature CD players, flat-screen TVs, pillow-top beds and fully
stocked mini refrigerators. Seven-night air-inclusive rates start
at $1,775 per person, double, plus a $55 membership fee. For
details, visit www.clubmed.com. For information on Martinique, visit
PENCIL IT IN
" Tranquility Jazz Festival, Nov. 9 to 13,
Anguilla. For details, visit www.anguillajazz.org.
" 17th Annual
Starving Artists Day, Nov. 27, Whim Greathouse &
Museum, St. Croix. For details, visit www.stcroixlandmarks.com; for a discounted
rate, contact Hotel Caravelle at (800) 524-0410.
" 29th Annual
Carriacou Parang Festival, Dec. 16 to 18,