PETER ISLAND, British Virgin Islands -- Agents have more reasons than ever to sell Peter Island resort this winter.

Newly renovated beachfront rooms represent an outlay of $4 million in recent upgrades and improvements.

Wayne Kafscak, managing director, said Peter Island "is in this for the long term. The owners are committed to offering and maintaining a quality product."

Peter Island appeared to rebound fairly quickly from the cancellations received in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Tom Jones, reservations manager, said that "for every two cancellations or postponements received, we'd get a new booking from an agent for January or February."

Peter Island resort expanded its menu offerings last year and plans to introduce new food items for the upcoming peak season. Above, a view from the main restaurant overlooking the water. Jones also reported the loss of "very little" Christmas business, which requires a 10-night minimum stay.

In fact, the resort remained at near-sellout levels for the holiday season.

The 52-unit resort, which occupies its own 1,800-acre island in the British Virgin Islands chain, reopened Oct. 7 after a monthlong, propertywide refurbishing.

The renovation is done each year while the resort is closed and is part of an ongoing maintenance program.

However, the current renovation project involving the 20 beachfront rooms, which will be completed by mid-November, mirrors the refit of the 30 harbor rooms done three years ago.

Kafscak said the project includes a new air conditioning system for each guest unit as well as new bathrooms, lighting, soft goods, furniture and a closet redesign.

"We're spending $155,000 per unit on this project," he said. "There is a concerted effort to continually improve the existing project and to put in what needs to be put in."

Although Peter Island has no plans to forsake its long-standing policy of no televisions in guest rooms, fiber-optic cable lines and data ports in room telephones are part of the current improvements.

"We're looking down the line toward our future communications and technology needs," Kafscak said. "We are trying to put the equipment in place now that will meet future technical demands."

An office near the resort's lobby will offer e-mail access for guests.

A new infinity swimming pool and a revamped menu plan were added last year.

On the schedule for next year is the addition of a new and faster motorlaunch to transfer guests to and from Tortola to Peter Island.

"We have a loyal staff, a quality product, the support of travel agents and a repeat guest ratio of more than 50%," Kafscak said.

Agents, in fact, account for more than 60% of Peter Island's business.

The resort pays 10% commission on packages.

Peter Island's customers are primarily from the U.S. with high growth rates taking place in the honeymoon and weddings segments.

In 2000, Peter Island experienced its best year ever in terms of volume, sales and repeat business.

Kafscak attributed the high numbers to "a concerted effort to consistently offer a quality product."

"Word of mouth is taking hold, and agents realize that we are here to stay," Kafscak said.

He and his sales team were in New York for a week of agent-based meetings and presentations when the terrorist attacks occurred.

Kafscak hopes to reschedule the presentations for a later date and to step up the schedule of fam trips to Peter Island.

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