Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-letter: September 15, 2005

A CLASS IN CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS for the tourism industry will be one of the highlights at the 28th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-28) at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas Oct. 21 to 26, sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Barry Pitegoff, vice president of research for Visit Florida, will focus on how to use research to craft a credible message following a crisis. "Florida and the Caribbean have a lot in common and we face some of the same challenges when it comes to disasters," Pitegoff said. His class will focus on challenges and communication following a crisis. Pitegoff, who has directed the research program for Florida's tourism industry for 25 years, led the research that determined Visit Florida's message in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. and after the four hurricanes that hit Florida last year. "This class is an opportunity for delegates to gain insight into this critical aspect of tourism communications. How we respond to crisis situations is critical in having the world continue to view the Caribbean as a place to come and vacation," said Hugh Riley, CTO's marketing director for the Americas. Information on CTC-28, including how to register, can be found at www.onecaribbean.org.

THE NATURAL BRIDGE, one of Arubas most treasured and photographed attractions, collapsed and fell into the ocean Sept. 2 after centuries of pounding by the surf. The rock bridge, which was 100 feet long and 25 feet high, was formed from coral limestone on Arubas windy, jagged northern coast and became one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the Caribbean. Hundreds of visitors walked across it each year. Aruba does have seven other smaller natural bridges. Arrangements for a tribute to the bridge are not yet final, according to the Aruba Tourism Authority.

TAKEOFFS

* Caribbean Star reduced its fares by 50% for travelers within the tourism and travel-related industries, including tourist boards, airport employees, hotel associations and hoteliers. The discount is in effect through Nov. 30 and is applicable to 30-day and full economy fares. For details, visit www.flycaribbeanstar.com.

* Spirit Airlines will launch a daily flight between Fort Lauderdale and George Town, Grand Cayman, on Feb. 9 and a week later will begin daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Twice-weekly service to Grand Turk from Fort Lauderdale will begin Feb. 19. For details, visit www.spiritair.com.

ISLAND OUTPOST, the collection of hip hideaways in Jamaica and the Bahamas, launched an Island Money incentive to debut the travel agent section of its Web site called Travel Professional at www.islandoutpost.com. Agents who book a stay of three or more nights at its Jamaica resorts for travel through Dec. 15 will receive cash bonuses on top of the 10% commission. The bonuses range from $50 at Jake's in Treasure Beach to $75 each at The Caves in Negril and Strawberry Hill in Irish Town and $100 at Goldeneye in Oracabessa, all in Jamaica. Agents must have a valid IATA card and must sign up for the travel agent e-mail list to start earning the Island Money bonuses. Not included in the incentive offer is Island Outpost's Pink Sands on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. The Travel Professional section includes information, specials, news and selling tools for the Island Outpost properties, which also include Island Outpost Villas, a collection of three properties: the Ian Fleming Villa and Bolt House, both in Oracabessa, Jamaica and Cuckoo's Nest in Provo, Utah.

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