Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: May 11, 2006

NEW ATTRACTIONS, expanded airlift, strengthened room inventory, a renewed focus on destination marketing and numerous special events highlighted the 5th annual Cayman Islands Tourism Exchange, held on Grand Cayman May 7 to 9. Post-Ivan room stock, as of mid-April, totaled 3,794 rooms on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman with the bulk (2,205) in hotels and the balance in condos, guesthouses and villas, according to numbers released at the event. Pilar Bush, director of tourism, reported that hotel occupancies in January, February and March ran 58.7%, 71.3% and 79%, respectively. Properties to remain closed on Grand Cayman include the Indies Suites, the Seaview Hotel, the North Point Condos, the Tarquynn Manor, the Treasure Island Resort, the Victoria House, the Beachcomber Condos, the Cayman Club, the Turtle Beach Villas and approximately 35 guesthouses. The former Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman remains closed due to questions over ownership and insurance matters. However, the propertys 53 Beach Suites currently are open as the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman Beach Suites.

LODGEPODGE

" Sandals and Beaches Resorts have undertaken major expansions of their properties in Antigua and Turks and Caicos, representing a combined investment of $170 million. Sandals Antigua Caribbean Village & Spa is investing $70 million to build a 180-suite Mediterranean Village, scheduled to open in December. Meanwhile, Beaches Turks and Caicos is adding 168 family-oriented suites to its new Italian Village and a new water park featuring a 12,000-square-foot swimming pool. Completion on the $100 million addition is scheduled for 2007.

" Phase one of a $35 million renovation project is underway at the 525-room San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in the Condado section of San Juan. The 21-story property originally opened in 1964 as a Sheraton; was destroyed by fire and closed several years later; reopened in 1995 under the Marriott brand; and was last refurbished in 2001. The casino will be the first facility to be upgraded and expanded, with completion set for June. While work is underway, the existing casino is open for action 24 hours a day. The 402 rooms in the main tower will close in June for a total renovation. In addition, the 123-room cabana wing will be renovated, but will remain open during the upgrade. According to Marriott, the entire resort will be in full operation by the holiday season. For details, visit www.marriott.com.

SEPTEMBER is Travel Agent Month in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Hotel & Tourism Association offers an agent program for three nights each in St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John at 15 participating properties. Discounted rates vary, depending on the properties. In addition, discounts also are available for island activities, attractions and at retail shops. A valid IATAN card must be shown at each location to qualify for the discounts. For information, visit www.sttstjhta.com or call (340) 774-6835.

PENCIL IT IN

" Caribbean Week 2006, June 10 to 17, New York City. The annual event begins with a Celebrity Cricket match on June 10 at Idlewild Park at 223rd St. and 148th Ave. in Queens and ends with the 33rd Annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball on June 16 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. In between are a Caribbean Gospelfest on June 11;appearances by Caribbean celebrity chefs June12 to 17; Town Hall meetings on June 12; a Caribbean Fair and Do It Caribbean Weddings on June13; and the Media Marketplace on June 14. For a complete schedule, visit www.caribbeanweekny.com.

" 2nd annual Sandals to Sandals 10K Race, Nov. 19, St. Lucia. The race will begin at Sandals Halycon Beach St. Lucia, wind along Choc Bay and Rodney Bay and finish at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort. Total prize money is about $6,000.

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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