The Caribbeans latest superstar is a swaggering, crafty, braid-coiffed rogue whose deftness of sword and fondness for rum have catapulted him and his disreputable band of scalawags into the spotlight in a way that tourism officials up to now could only dream about.

Capt. Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) and fellow protagonists Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Eliz-abeth Swann (Keira Knightley) could well be the swashbuckling forces that pump up summer tourism figures for locations in Dominica, the Bahamas and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where Disney Pictures Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest was filmed.

In little more time than it takes to rig a sail, quaff a grog, belt out a sea chantey or walk a plank, tourism offices, tour operators and hotels have rushed to release a treasure chest of packages and products. They are hoping to reap some of the bounty generated by the films record haul of $258 million in its first two weekends.

In fact, the destinations had their game plans well in hand before the first sword fight erupted on screen, having experienced the success of Depps 2003 hit Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Many of the scenes for a third Pirates film, due to be released in May, were shot during the filming of the current movie.

In recognition of the on-location filming, pirate-themed packages, activities and tours of locales in the film are key components in the offerings of various hotels, tourist boards and operators.

Links to the film have popped up on destination Web sites as well.

Dominica was once a stopping-off point for Caribbean pirates in the 16th century, and movie director Gore Verbinsky chose the island as the backdrop for this action sequel to take advantage of its unspoiled rainforests and secret coves.

The sites selected were spread throughout Dominica, from the northern coast in the foothills of Morne Aux Diables to the rocky cliffs of the southwestern coast, where the Disney Corp. built its Cannibal Village across two hillsides, linked by an 80-foot-high rope bridge overlooking the sea.

Two-headed teepees covered in twisted tree roots and adorned with skull-and-bones motifs provided a temporary refuge for Capt. Jack Sparrow in the movies opening shots.

Off-camera, Depp stayed in his private yacht moored off Fort Young Hotels private harbor while the cast and crew stayed in the 58-room hotel and smaller properties.

Fort Youngs Pirates Summer Special, valid through Sept. 30, features a pirates bandana, a bottle of dark rum and a whale-watching expedition in addition to room, breakfast and shopping discounts, priced at $100 per person, per night, double for five nights.

British tour operator Headwater offers the eight-night, guided Tropical Walk in Dominica, which departs Nov. 17 and March 31. The tour includes hikes to some of the filming sites, including the Cannibal Village, Capucin Cape, the pirates Shipwreck Cove and Indian River, where pirate long boats cruised along Pantano River in the film.

In the Bahamas, many scenes were shot on or near Gold Rock Beach on the east end of Grand Bahama Island and on the Out island of Exuma.

The films depiction of the drama of high seas, rolling waves and maritime plunder actually took place in a 60-million-gallon filming tank built by Bahamas Film Studios for the Pirates films.

The tank has generated a tremendous response from filmmakers all over the world, according to Craig Woods, commissioner of the Bahamas Film and Television Commission.

Historically, the Bahamas were home to some of the most notorious of the West Indies pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard, Calico Jack and the buccaneer Henry Morgan, who once hung a lantern on the highest point on Andros to lure a ship onto the reefs -- then he plundered it.

Package deals in Nassau, such as the British Colonial Hiltons Pirate progam, include visits to the Pirates of Nassau Museum and the replica of the 1716 pirate ship Revenge.

Theres a four-night Pirate Adventure program at Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant, a Nassau property built by a pirate, John Howard Graysmith of the schooner Graywolf.

On Grand Bahama, pirate-themed deals are being offered at Pelican Bay at Lucaya, the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach and the Westin and Sheraton at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort. Gogo Worldwide Vacations is offering three pirate-themed hotel packages in the Bahamas, Dominica and at Raffles Resort Canouan Island in the Grenadines.

Caribbean Sun Tours in St. Vincent has a four-night Pirates of the Caribbean package that visits the movie set at Wallilabou Bay. CheapCaribbean.com will launch its Pirates promotion later this month.

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

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