Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: February 16, 2006

RITZ-CARLTON will launch its deluxe beachhead in the Bahamas with the 230-acre Ritz-Carlton Rose Island, scheduled for a 2009 opening on Rose Island, four miles off Nassau and Paradise Island. The project will include a 95-room hotel, a marina, and a collection of more than 400 estate homes, townhouses and condominiums. Resort guests will have access to Rose Island by ferry and helicopter. The hotel site will be on the western side of the island with a north-facing beach. Guest rooms and suites will average 550 square feet with large balconies. Other amenities will include a pool, a spa, a restaurant and intimate meetings space. Simon Cooper, president and CEO, said that Ritz-Carlton has long wanted to add a branded resort in the Bahamas. Rose Island was well worth waiting for. Ritz-Carlton operates 60 hotels worldwide and has 20 projects currently under development, with hotel openings planned for Russia, Ireland and China over the next year. Caribbean resorts are in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas; a resort on West Caicos in the Turks and Caicos is set to open in December 2007.

DESPITE TWO HURRICANES which temporarily halted visitor arrivals midway last year, Jamaica welcomed a record just under 1.5 million visitors in 2005, eclipsing the 2004 record of 1.4 million by 4.5%, according to Paul Pennicook, director of tourism. The momentum has continued this year with January arrivals up 11% over the same month last year, Pennicook said. The airports in Montego Bay and Kingston are expanding facilities to accommodate the increases in airlift and arrivals. Overall, Caribbean tourism in 2005 held its own, according to Arley Sobers, director of research and information management for the Caribbean Tourism Organization. An initial forecast for this year, based upon arrivals to date, is that the current winter season will surpass last winter, due in part to increased airlift to the region. The CTO predicted continued moderate growth this year, in the 2.5% to 3.5% range, Sobers said. Tourist arrivals in 2005 to 31 CTO member countries, which encompassed the English-, French-, Dutch- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, increased by 3.6% to 22.5 million visitors, albeit down from the 6.9% growth of 2004 and the 7.1% increase in 2003.


" Mount Nevis Hotel on Nevis is offering a Four Fab Friends, Five Nevis Nights package through Dec. 15 for any four women who need a getaway together. Priced from $995 per person, double, the plan covers accommodations; transfers; daily breakfast and three dinners; use of a car rental during the stay; a massage for each guest; a snorkeling trip to St. Kitts; and one free night on a return trip. If booked by March 15, Mount Nevis will throw in the sixth night for free (but meals are not covered). For details, call (800) 75-NEVIS.

" Beaches is offering its fourth annual Single Parent Friendly (SPF) promotion during May and from Aug. 18 to Oct. 31. Throughout the promotion, Beaches will waive the single supplement (of up to $180 per night) for single parents traveling with children and will implement SPF on-site activities. These include receptions and kids movie nights to allow parents to spend one-on-one time with their children during the day and partake in adult conversation and fellowship at night. The SPF offer is available at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos; and in Jamaica, at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa and Beaches Sandy Bay, both in Negril, and Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Ocho Rios. A three-night minimum stay is required; nightly rates range from $206.25 per adult and $67.50 per child. For details, call (800) BEACHES or visit


" 16th annual Moonsplash Music Festival, March 16 to 19, Anguilla. The festival is always held at the time of the full moon in March; musicians this year include Bijou Banton, Bankie Banx and Alana Davis. Advance ticket prices range from $25 to $50 per person. New this year as part of the festival is the Anguillian Cultural and Arts Fair on March 18 in The Valley; admission to the fair is free. For details, visit

" CTOs annual Caribbean Week 2006, June 11 to 17, New York City. Events include the inaugural Caribbean Gospelfest, a celebrity cricket match, celebrity chef presentations, town hall meetings, a two-day Caribbean Fair, two Caribbean weddings, the Media Marketplace and the 33rd Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. For information, visit or


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