STRONG ARRIVALS FIGURES through September throughout most
of the region, a new synergy and spirit of cooperation between
destinations and cruise lines and the presence of low-cost carriers
[Spirit, JetBlue, Song and ATA] giving established lines like
American a run for their money, tourism officials anticipate a
record winter season, signaling a complete comeback from the
decline set off by the events of 9/11 three years ago. Tourism
ministers, officials, keynote speakers and panelists attending the
Caribbean Tourism Organizations 27th annual conference in Aruba
were optimistic in their forecasts while not forgetting the dire
situation on hurricane-damaged islands, especially Grenada and
Grand Cayman. In fact, relief measures for the impacted islands
gained momentum during the conference, with more organizations
stepping up to the plate to render assistance.
IN OTHER CTO
" The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. named Milton Segarra interim
executive director, replacing Jose Suarez, who resigned to pursue
other interests. Currently head of the Puerto Rico Convention
Authority, he held the PRTC post several years ago. Because Puerto
Ricos upcoming elections will shift many positions, a permanent
PRTC executive director will be named later this year. According to
Segarra, Puerto Rico gained seven new carriers for the winter, an
increase of 24% in seat capacity from the U.S.
" David Fernandez, U.S. director of tourism for Antigua and
Barbuda, will retire this month after 34 years of service.
Fernandez, who is one of the longest serving tourism directors in
the Caribbean, joined the government of Antigua and Barbuda in 1971
as a sales rep. and was named to his present post in 1982; his
duties include strategic marketing, planning, advertising and
promotional activities. He has worked closely with travel agents
throughout his tenure and attributed much of the destinations
tourism success to the support received from travel agents.
Fernandez will remain in the U.S. where he plans to open a
" Jamaica, with visitor arrivals up 9.5% through July and another
2% in August, felt very little post-Ivan falloff in September,
according to Paul Pennicook, director of tourism. Numerous hotel
projects, a new ad campaign and increased airlift bode well for the
winter and beyond into 2005, he said.
" Grenada. Water has been restored to 90%
of the island; electricity and phone are partially operating; roads
are open to traffic as are many banks, shops, marinas and gas
stations. A curfew remains in effect for St. George and St. Andrew
parishes from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Point Salines airport is open to
regional and international flights between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Carriers serving Grenada include BWIA from New York and Miami via
Trinidad; Air Jamaica via Montego Bay and its thrice-weekly nonstop
flights from New York (JFK). The port is open; cruise calls are
expected to resume late this month. Aquanauts Grenada dive shop is
open at True Blue Bay resort; closed are dive shops at Spice
Island, Grenada Grand Beach, Coyaba Beach, Allamanda Beach and
Calabash Hotel. Dive Grenada at the Flamboyant Hotel reopens in
December. Allamanda Beach Resort--has some undamaged rooms
available; Bel Air Plantation -- fully operational and accepting
guests; Blue Horizons -- reopening within four months; Calabash
Hotel -- closed to Oct. 30; Coyaba Beach Resort -- severe damage,
reopens next October; Flamboyant -- reopens Dec. 20 with 36 of 61
rooms; Grenada Grand Beach -- open; Laluna -- reopens Nov. 25;
LaSource -- no damage but is closed to guests; Mariposa and Monmot
hotels -- open; Rex Grenadian and Siesta Hotel -- closed; Spice
Island -- lost 90% of its roofs, most of
its main facilities, is closed for a year; True Blue Bay Resort --
open with several rooms, fully operational by Dec. 1. For details,
" Grand Cayman. Dates change frequently.
Check www.caymanislands.ky for updates. The beach suites at
the Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman reopen Dec. 1, along with Hemingways
and Bamboo restaurants, the fitness center, Red Sail Sports and the
retails shops in the same complex. The main resort plans to reopen
June 1. The Ritz-Carlton eyes an opening date late in the first
quarter; Westin Casaurena will reopen Oct. 29; Lacovia, Discovery
Point Club and Grandview condominiums reopen in December; Indies
Suites and Sunshine Suites have set no reopening dates at this
time; Villas of the Galleon is closed for six months; the Marriott
will welcome guests when the travel restrictions are lifted; Cobalt
Coast will reopen when power is up and travel restrictions eased.
Carnival Cruise Lines calls will resume on a limited basis in
November; Royal Caribbean Cruises will assess the situation in
mid-November, according to a spokesman.
DEADLINE for entries in the 40th annual Ms.
Travel Agent contest, sponsored by American/Wolfe International
Hotel Representatives, Sandals Resorts and Air Jamaica, has been
extended to Nov. 10. The competition is set for Dec. 9 to 13 at
Sandals Royal Caribbean and Offshore Island in Montego Bay,
Jamaica. For entry forms, contact A/WIHR at (800)