LOS ANGELES -- New products and promotions could make 2003 a
breakthrough year in travel to the Caribbean from the West Coast,
according to travel officials here.
One major catalyst is expected to be the new Caribbean program
of Pleasant Holidays, which will begin distributing 48-page
brochures and accepting reservations Nov. 15 for travel starting in
Donnie Dawson, regional director for the Jamaica Tourist Board
here, said Jamaica and other destinations have been "trying to get
Pleasant to start in the Caribbean for the last 15 years."
Noting that 60% of Pleasant's business is in the West, Dawson
said, "I think they're going to bring a whole new clientele to the
Caribbean. ... I think 2003 and beyond is a new dawn for the West
More predicted good news for the Caribbean from the West: in
April, Air Jamaica will be increasing service from Los Angeles from
five flights per week to two flights per day, for the entire
Allen Chastanet, vice president of sales and marketing for Air
Jamaica, said the Los Angeles. service, started four years ago, had
a 91% load factor this summer, compared with a load factor in the
70s during the summer of 2001.
Both Chastanet and Dawson pointed out in separate interviews
that most prospective visitors don't realize that the flying time
to Montego Bay on Air Jamaica is almost the same as the flying time
Dawson called it "a message we need to get out to the West Coast
The second Air Jamaica flight from L.A., he added, "enables us
to get connections from other West Coast cities, which we couldn't
Michael Gardiner, vice president of marketing from Pleasant
Holidays, said his company believes their business to Jamaica from
the West Coast "is going to be incremental business."
Pleasant also has agreements with American, from Northern
California and Pacific Northwest gateways, Delta and US Airways, he
"We are committed to the [Caribbean] market," Gardiner said.
Besides commissions of 12%, he said, "we'll also be working in our
$40 bonus for every two bookings."