NEW YORK -- Martinique launched a $1.2 million branding and promotional blitz targeted at the U.S. market and tied into the islands new air service, the debut of a renovated Club Med and the introduction of tour operator incentives tied to package programs.

Martinique hoteliers are offering U.S. tour operators an equal euro-to-dollar exchange rate on their Martinique programs this winter, according to Muriel Wiltord-Latamie, director, U.S. and Latin America for the Martinique Promotion Bureau.

The official currency in Martinique is the euro.

This is a very clear signal that Martinique is ready and willing to work with U.S. operators and we want their business, Wiltord-Latamie said.

On the air front, American Eagle will launch nonstop service between San Juan and Fort-de-France, Martinique, on Dec. 15. The flight will operate Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays using 64-seat Super ATR aircraft.

The flight will depart San Juan at 12:42 p.m., arriving in Fort-de-France at 2:47 p.m.; the return flight leaves Martinique at 3:12 p.m., arriving in Puerto Rico at 5:22 p.m.

Additional new airlift includes new Martinique-based Take Air Lines, which, in an arrangement with Air Caraibes, will offer daily flights from St. Lucias Hewannora International Airport to Martinique. The flight times allow connections with flights arriving from the U.S. mainland.

Meanwhile, Club Med will debut its $60 million Buccaneers Creek resort Dec. 17, the same day that its weekly nonstop charter service with North American Airlines begins from New Yorks Kennedy airport to Martinique.

The resort, which underwent a 20-month, from-the-ground-up renovation, includes a 5,000-square-foot infinity pool, a spa, three restaurants and bars and a range of water sports and activities.

The 293 guest rooms feature CD players, flat-screen TVs, pillow-top beds and fully stocked mini refrigerators. Seven-night air-inclusive rates start at $1,775 per person, double, plus a $55 membership fee. For details, visit www.clubmed.com.

For information on Martinique, visit www.martinique.org.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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