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.
" 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
" 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.
" 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.
Phone: (201) 902-1591
opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].