Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: June 1, 2006

ITS JUNE 1, and unless you have been living under a rock, you know it is the official start of the six-month Atlantic Hurricane Season, which forecasters already have predicted will be an active one with as many as 16 named storms with eight to 10 reaching hurricane strength and four to six reaching Category 3 or higher -- meaning sustained winds topping 111 mph. More tour operators than in years past have stepped up to the plate with new or expanded insurance coverage, getting in line behind Sandals, SuperClubs and Club Med, which have long had such policies in effect.

HERE IS A PARTIAL RUNDOWN:

" Travel Impressions Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance enables customers to cancel for any reason up until the time they board their flight and still receive a full refund, no questions asked. Agents commissions are protected up to $100 per booking on all canceled reservations that are paid in full and applies to both bulk and published air fares and payments for all hotels in the companys packages. Insurance rates start at $89 per adult and $45 per child (12 and under). For details, call (800) 284-0022 or visit www.travelimpressions.com.

" Apple Vacations new weather guarantee offers a free replacement vacation if a Category 1 (winds at least 74 mph) or higher storm interrupts the vacation for more than 24 hours. The guarantee is valid for trips to participating hotels in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Jamaica; and Cancun/Riviera Maya, Mexico, when flying USA3000 Airlines or any other Apple-dedicated flight for hotel stays from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31. For details, visit www.applevacations.com/weather.

" CheapCaribbean.com announced its Free Your Mind Travel Protection Plan, which is included in each package booked at www.cheapcaribbean.com or via its 24-hour call center at (800) 915-2322. Features include traditional insurance coverage from Travel Guard plus the firms own Cancel/Change For Any Reason one-time waiver protection. If the customer notifies CheapCaribbean.com at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure flight, there will be no penalties for booking changes or cancellations not covered by travel insurance. In addition, customers receive a credit voucher for the full amount of the package redeemable for a CheapCaribbean.com Caribbean or Mexico package within a year of the cancellation date.

" MLT Vacations, operator of the Worry-Free Vacations and WorldVacations brands, enhanced its travel protection plan, which permits customers to cancel without penalty up to the time of departure if the National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov) has issued a hurricane watch or warning for the intended destination. Customers receive full refunds in the form of a gift card, valid for Worry-Free Vacations or WorldVacations products for one year. The plan also includes a Cancel for Any Reason waiver, which permits cancellations for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. A new rebooking policy for Worry-Free clients enables customers who didnt purchase the travel protection plan and features no penalty if the client rebooks within seven days of the original departure date after a watch or warning is issued. The second option, for a $50 service fee, is that the customer can cancel and receive a gift card refund that is valid for booking up to 60 days for travel up to a year. For details, visit www.worldagentdirect.com.

THE USVI raised its duty-free allowance $400 to $1,600 per person. In addition, family members traveling together can make a joint declaration that increases the amount of their allowance. Gifts with a value of $100 or less can be mailed (no more than one package per day) and do not need to be declared in the exemption. U.S. visitors still are allowed to return with six bottles of liquor as long as one of the bottles was produced locally. A duty of 6% is charged for purchases totaling more than $1,600. For details, visit www.usvitourism.vi.

PENCIL IT IN

" Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC 2006), Hyatt Regency Miami in Miami, June 25 to 28. Theme this year is the challenge of global tourism. For details, visit www.caribbeanhotels.org.

" 27th annual Caribbean Hotel Association Marketplace, Oranjestad, Aruba, Jan. 14 to 16. Visit the Web site above for details.

Caribbean Editor:

Gay Nagle Myers

Phone: (201) 902-1591

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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