Travel Weeklys Caribbean E-letter: November 3, 2005

LAUNCHED IN 1975, The Islands Of The Bahamas People-to-People Program introduced new initiatives to commemorate the programs 30th anniversary. These include additional training for volunteers; a People-to-People In-Home Experience, where visitors can stay with host families; International People-to-People Ambassadors, where visitors share details of their visits with their home countries; and an on-line interactive Web page so that participants can access information prior to their vacation. Program participants are now assessed a $35 processing fee to register. Participating tour operators, ground handlers and retailers earn $10 commission for each booking. Children 12 and under are free. The People-to-People program is available on New Providence (Nassau), Grand Bahama Island, Abaco, Bimini, Eleuthera, Exuma and San Salvador. For program details, contact program manager Janet Cuffie at (242) 323-1853 or e-mail [email protected]. To access the interactive Web page, log on to www.bahamas.com and click on the What to Do option at the top of the page; the selection will lead users to People-to-People.

LODGEPODGE

* Carlson Hotels Worldwide will enter the French Caribbean market in late 2006 when it debuts the Radisson St. Martin Resort and Spa, formerly the 253-room Le Meridien. Radisson also has a property in Aruba, and the acquisition of the St. Martin resort signals a strategy of expansion in key Caribbean markets, according to Jay Witzel, president and CEO.

* Hyatt will enter the Trinidad market with a 428-room business and convention hotel, set to open in late 2007 as its fifth Caribbean property. The Hyatt Regency Trinidad, 30 minutes from Piarco International Airport, will feature 43,000 square feet of meetings space, three restaurants, a lobby bar and lounge and a rooftop bar and grill.

* The Hilton Trinidad will complete a three-phase renovation by next March, which will increase its room count from 380 to 419, including 20 suites; expand its executive lounge; upgrade its restaurant facilities; and refurbish its lobby and lobby bar. The hotel also will add a business center, PC workstations, boardrooms and a spa and a fitness center.

THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Hotel & Tourism Association and American Express are collaborating on a new winter promotion, which includes special rates at participating hotels, a $100 American Express Gift Card and a $500 Passport to Savings Coupon Booklet. The booking window runs through Jan. 2 for travel from Jan. 2 thru Feb. 8. Participating hotels include Best Western Carib Beach, Bolongo Bay Beach Club, Frenchmans Reef Marriott, Holiday Inn, Secret Harbour and Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort & Spa on St. Thomas; the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino on St. Croix; and the Westin Resort on St. John. Participating tour operators include Gogo Worldwide Vacations and select Mark Travel operators (US Airways Vacations, United Vacations and Funjet). Members of the small inns program called USVirginns, including Crystal Palace Hotel and Paradise Properties on St. Thomas, and Caravelle Hotel, Chenay Bay and Sand Castle on the Beach on St. Croix, are also part of the promotion and can be booked through Island Resort Tours. For information on the Hotel & Tourism Association, visit www.virgin-islands-hotels.com.

TAKEOFFS
* Delta will launch the only nonstop service between Atlanta and Antigua on Dec. 18. The twice-weekly flights will depart Sundays and Wednesdays.
* Spirit Airlines announced new nonstop daily service from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale Feb. 23 with connections to 11 Caribbean destinations. Two of those connections from Fort Lauderdale are starting by the end of the year: Daily service to Montego Bay will start Nov. 10 (also from Orlando Nov. 17) and daily nonstop service to St. Thomas will take off Dec. 15.

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