Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: April 7, 2005

THE OPENING of Montserrats new airport in May will signal the islands reappearance on the tourist front, following a 10-year hiatus due to the Soufriere Hills volcanic eruptions, which began in 1995. Ernestine Cassell, director of tourism, said that villa vacations, ecotourism and packaged excursions and day trips from Antigua for the U.S. and U.K. markets will be the focus of Montserrats three-year National Tourism Strategy Plan, which began in 2004. The British government assisted with the rebuilding of Montserrat and injected $7 million into the economy to kickstart its tourism sector, Cassell said. Tourism officials want to increase tourist arrivals to pre-1995 levels of 25,000 overnight visitors or more per year plus approximately 9,000 day trippers annually.

KAREN FORD-WARNER, acting secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization since the retirement last September of Jean Holder, former secretary general, has resigned from the CTO, effective May 10. Ford-Warner joined CTO as deputy secretary general in January 1999. Prior to that, she was the chief advisor to Jamaicas minister of tourism and is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, the Norman Manley Law School and Harvards Radcliffe College. Jamaican-born Ford-Warner plans to return to Jamaica from Barbados to spend more time with her children. CTO has not yet named Ford-Warners replacement or selected a new secretary general to replace Holder.

IF ITS SPRINGTIME, its conference time in the Caribbean. The calendar is crowded with destinations trade shows and travel exchanges. Jamaica wisely shifted JAPEX (Jamaican Annual Product Exchange) from the spring lineup and moved it to the less-crowded fall period. Heres the schedule: Barbados Marketplace, through April 9, Bridgetown, Barbados; Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, May 9 to 11, Barbados; Cayman Islands Travel Exchange (CITE), April 13 to 16, Grand Cayman; CTOs seventh annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-7), April 26 to 29, Tobago; Dominican Republic Annual Travel Exchange, April 5 to 8, Santo Domingo, DR; St. Kitts Tour Operator Symposium, May 19 to 22, Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. Maarten/St. Martin annual regional  trade show, May 12 to 15, St. Maarten; USVI Symposium, April 9 to 13, St. Thomas. 

" Klaus Lapp was appointed general manager of the all-inclusive Paradisus Puerto Rico in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Prior to joining the resort, Lapp was the general manager of the Villarrica Park Lake in Chile.
" Magnus Alnebeck has been named general manager at Pelican Bay at Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. Most recently Alnebeck was general manager of Ladera Resort in St. Lucia.


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