INDUSTRY reacted quickly to set up fundraising initiatives
for disaster relief and recovery for Hurricane Katrina victims in
the Gulf Coast, including several Caribbean-based industry and
tourism associations. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, secretary general
of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), said that perhaps more
than other people in the world, the members of the CTO, along with
all the people of the Caribbean, can empathize with the victims of
Hurricane Katrina and understand fully the sense of devastation and
loss that they must feel at this time. Vanderpool-Wallace urged CTO
members to assist in relief and restoration efforts in any way that
they can. Many members of the Caribbean community in the U.S.
responded with offers of housing; the Cayman Islands Dept. of
Tourism plans to hold a fundraiser, and several local businesses
staged a silent auction Sept. 5 with the proceeds going to the
American Red Cross. The U.S. Virgin Islands Hotel and Tourism
Association spearheaded a fundraising drive with a large donation
that was matched by the West Indian Co. Ltd., Ritz-Carlton and the
Holiday Inn in St. Thomas. Tourism employees also were asked to
contribute at least $2 each, which would raise an additional
$20,000, according to Beverly Nicholson, association president. All
donations will be presented to the USVI chapter of the American Red
Cross. The Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association will donate the
proceeds from an island-wide garage sale organized by the hotels
and members of the tourism community; and Sandals & Beaches
Resorts also is donating to the American Red Cross on behalf of
Katrina victims. For a complete list of organizations involved in
the relief and recovery efforts, visit Travel Weekly and Travel Guard Internationals joint
clearinghouse Web site for relief efforts, www.travelcompaniescare.org.
EXPECTED, the State Dept. and the Dept. of Homeland
Security proposed to extend by a year, to Dec. 31, 2006, the start
date for a rule requiring a valid passport for re-entry to the U.S.
for Americans returning by air and sea to or from the Caribbean and
Bermuda, Central and South America, Mexico and Canada. Likewise, the start date for the same policy for
those crossing U.S. land borders was pushed back to Dec. 31, 2007.
The deadline for comment on the proposed rules is Oct. 31. To
comment, visit www.epa.gov/feddocket and include Regulatory
Information Number 1651-AA66 or www.regulations.gov and include
VIRGIN ISLANDS Fall into Americas Caribbean program offers
a $200 air fare credit on bookings made by Nov. 15 for travel
through Dec. 14. Travel through Oct. 31 includes the fifth night
free and a complimentary room upgrade or continental breakfast.
Agents also will earn a $25 booking bonus from the hotels. All
participants receive a coupon booklet for discounts and savings
valued at $500. Participating properties include Carambola Beach
Resort, Chenay Bay Beach Resort, Divi Carina Bay Resort &
Casino and Hotel Caravelle on St. Croix; the Westin Resort &
Villas on St. John; and Marriotts Frenchmans Reef & Morning
Star Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Windward Passage, Secret Harbour
Beach Resort and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa on St. Thomas.
Participating wholesalers include American Airlines Vacations,
Changes in LAttitudes, Delta Vacations, Future Vacations, Happy
Vacations, Inter-Island Tours, Island Resort Tours, Gogo Worldwide
Vacations, National Leisure Group, TNT Vacations, Travel
Impressions, and US Airways Vacations.
" The Inn at
Roberts Grove in Placencia, Belize, is one of the first
resorts in Belize to offer in-room high-speed Internet access,
priced at $16 per hour. The 52-room resort also offers an Internet
room for guests who do not bring their laptops with them; the
hourly rate is $20. Other amenities at the property include several
new grand villa suits, each with an infinity pool and swim-up bar;
three pools; a Padi dive center; a spa; two restaurants; and two
private islands for secluded getaways. Winter rates, valid Dec. 1
through May 31, start at $189 per night, double, in a first floor
beachview room, including airport transfers. For details, visit the
updated Web site at www.robertsgrove.com.
Paradiso, an Abercrombie & Kent Destinations Resort
property on Nevis, offers a 50% discount on stays through October.
Three-bedroom villas, regularly priced at $800 per night, drop to
$395 per night; four-bedroom units, regularly priced at $928 per
night, are $459 per night. For details, visit www.villaparadisonevis.com.