HOTEL AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION (AHATA) launched Meet Aruba, its new group marketing
division, an initiative aimed solely at the group, meetings and
incentives markets. Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of AHATA,
said the divisions goal is to be recognized as the best group
marketing entity in the Caribbean. We aim to have a direct sales
focus with clear accountability in terms of leads, bookings and
room nights. Pesquera also said that the group and meetings markets
have great potential to double room night contributions to Aruba.
The Meet Aruba team includes Scott Wiggins, executive director, who
also will maintain his main post as AHATAs senior director of sales
and marketing; Charly Ibarra, director of business development
based in New York, who will promote specific niche meetings
markets, such as the African American, Hispanic, and religious and
educational segments; Donna Del Gallo, who will work with community
and corporate markets in the northeast; and Mayline Menendez, who
will focus on corporate and incentive markets in the south.
Meetings facilities in Aruba include new ballrooms at the Marriott
and Wyndham properties, a convention center at the Renaissance
Aruba and several smaller venues. Pesquera said a comprehensive
overview of existing facilities is planned. For Aruba information,
JAMAICA will reduce the free
baggage allowance for economy passengers from 70 pounds to 50
pounds per bag, effective Oct. 6. Passengers can check two bags,
weighing up to 50 pounds a piece with a total dimension of 62
inches, free of charge. Bags between 50 and 70 pounds will be
charged $25 per piece. Luggage over 70 pounds will not be accepted
as checked baggage and will have to be shipped as cargo.
First-class passengers can still check two bags up to 70 pounds
each free of charge. Carry-on items will be restricted to two
pieces free of charge. Passengers will be allowed to carry on a
third piece only if there is space within the cabin, but will have
to pay $75 for the extra piece. The carriers said the changes are
in accordance with current industry standards, which mandate
stringent weight requirements.
Bay Beach Resort, the newest member of Almond Resorts,
will open on St. Lucia Nov. 15 with special rates of up to 40% off
on bookings made through Nov. 30 for travel to Jan. 21. The
discount drops to 30% for travel from Jan. 22 to April 24. Sale
prices start at $150 per person, per night, double, and carry a
three-night minimum stay requirement. The property will open with
238 rooms and expand to 336 by fall, 2006. To book, visit www.almondresorts.com.com and include booking
" On the
heels of its $45 million renovation and expansion, Grace
Bay Club in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, opened its new hotel
school for its employees and community members. Facilities include
a training area, a reference library and lounge. Each of Grace Bays
90 staff members will attend the school for a month-long series of
classes in hospitality and tourism services. Training courses are
available to employees free of charge and to the general public for
a fee. For details, visit www.gracebayclub.com.
" 1st annual
Kalalu World Music Festival, Dec. 1 to 4, Samaans Park,
Choc Bay, St. Lucia. Performers include Hugh Masekela, Idrissa Diop
and Emeline Michel, among others. For
details, visit www.stlucia.org.
annual Cayman Jazz Fest, Dec. 1 to 3, Grand Cayman.
Artists include George Duke, Al Jarreau, Ravi Coltrane and Yolanda
Adams. To book, call (8800) GO-TO-GCM.