With only five months to go, the new Puerto Rico Convention Center (PRCC) is on track for a November opening. The project is considered one of the most ambitious tourism ventures undertaken in Puerto Ricos history.

The opening of the new center represents the start of a new era for Puerto Ricos meetings and tourism market, said Ana Maria Viscasillas, president and CEO, Puerto Rico Convention Bureau.

San Juan will have the capacity to attract groups from 2,500 to more than 5,000 attendees. In fact, the Caribbean Hotel Associations annual Marketplace event will take place at the center Jan. 15 to 17, 2006.

Once open, the center will be the largest single meetings space in the Caribbean, with the largest ballroom in the Caribbean. At 39,500 square feet, it will be able to host up to 4,388 delegates, theater-style.     

The new PRCC will be the centerpiece of the Puerto Rico Convention Center District, a $415 million project currently under construction.

A groundbreaking on the $175 million, 500-room headquarters hotel is set for the end of 2005, with a projected opening in 2007. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, under its Sheraton banner, will manage the new convention centers flagship property. 

For information, call (800) 875-4765 or visit www.prconvention.com.

The sales, marketing and operations for three Nassau Beach properties in the Bahamas -- the Radisson Cable Beach Resort, the Nassau Beach Hotel and the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino -- have consolidated reservations, sales and marketing functions for the three resorts at new executive offices in Plantation, Fla.

The group launched its information and booking Web site at www.cablebeachresorts.com.

Located adjacent to one another along 3,000 feet of beach, the consolidation of the Wyndham, Radisson and Nassau Beach hotels will make the properties the second-largest resort complex in the Caribbean.

The Palms, in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, offers savings of up to 60% on bookings made by Sept. 1 for travel through October.

Rates start at $300 per room, per night, double, and include a welcome amenity, continental breakfast daily, roundtrip VIP airport transfers, nonmotorized water sports, entrance to the fitness center and use of the tennis courts. For information, call (866) 877-7256 or visit www.thepalmstc.com.

Divi Southwinds Beach Resort in Barbados introduced an all-inclusive plan with rates from $150 per adult in a one-bedroom, gardenview suite and $172 in an oceanview suite.

The all-inclusive rate for kids age 12 and under is $50 per day, beginning Dec. 21, but until then, kids stay and eat for free when sharing a room with an adult. (A seven-night minimum booking requirement applies.)

For details, call (800) 367-3483 or visit www.divisouthwinds.com.

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten, meanwhile, opened a watersports center, offering three-passenger Yamaha Wave Runners as well as pedal boats, kayaks, sailboats, snorkeling gear and water-toy rentals.

The 235-room resort has three restaurants, bars, three pools, tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, meetings facilities and shops. For details, visit www.diviresorts.com or call (800) 367-3484.

In the air, United Airlines will launch a nonstop Saturday flight from Washington to St. Maarten Dec. 17 for the high season, which runs from Dec. 17 to May 6.

Continental will start nonstop, weekly service between Houston and Bonaire on Dec. 16. The flight will depart Fridays at 11:30 p.m. and arrive in Bonaire on Saturdays at 6:15 a.m. The return flight will depart Saturdays from Bonaire at 8 a.m. and arrive in Houston at 10:50 a.m.

Spirit Airlines will begin nonstop, daily Airbus service from New York (LaGuardia) to Nassau Nov. 10.

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


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