Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: Aug. 14, 2003

THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, as well as the territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, will be the focus of an Investment Development Conference, set for Sept. 8 and 9 in Washington, hosted by Dept. of the Interior secretary Gale Norton. The conference plan emerged from Norton's visit to the U.S.V.I. in April in which she noted during a press conference that the local economy had been hurt by the drop-off in tourism since Sept. 11. To help ease the situation, Norton said she wanted to create a forum to bring together investors and businesses. The Investment Development Conference, Norton said, "will showcase the opportunities that the territories offer investors." Government and banking officials will meet with territorial representatives and business owners.

LODGEPODGE


• Costa Bonita Resort, the newest property in Culebra, Puerto Rico, will open its doors in late fall. The 164-unit waterfront resort, equally divided between studio rooms and one-bedroom suites, is located on Ensenada Honda, five minutes from the capital (and only town) of Dewey. Facilities include kitchenettes in each unit, ocean views, a pool with a swim-up bar, a main restaurant and cafe and a souvenir shop. Details and rates will be available shortly at www.costabonitaresort.com.
• The 118-room Rincon Beach Resort, on Puerto Rico's West Coast, pays 15% commission to agents. The year-old property offers a variety of water sports and excursions and features a restaurant, a bistro, a wine bar and a pool. Nightly rates through mid-December start at $118 per room, double. For details, visit www.rinconbeachresort.com or call (866) 589-0009.
• Sun Vacation Properties of Nevada recently purchased its first Caribbean property, Chenay Bay Beach Resort in St. Croix. Peter Locke, former owner/operator and general manager of the 50-cottage Chenay complex, will remain at the property through a transition period.

AMERICAN AIRLINES will begin nonstop weekend service between San Juan and Los Angeles Dec. 19, using 767 aircraft. Phil Olivieri, American's regional managing director-Puerto Rico, said the new route "will spotlight San Juan as a prime destination and the gateway to the entire Caribbean basin."

PACKAGE DEALS
• The BodyHoliday at LeSport, St. Lucia, offers five- and seven-night scuba plans that include boat dives, use of scuba equipment, a dive video, accommodations, all meals and drinks, spa treatments, taxes and tips. Rates start at $1,475 per person, double, through Nov. 1 for five nights. Call (800) 544-2883 to book.
• Classic Caribbean offers savings up to 30% at Hyatt Regency Aruba & Casino, Hyatt Regency Grand Cayman Resort & Villas and Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country Club, Puerto Rico, on bookings made by Aug. 29 for travel through Nov. 3 (Aruba) or Dec. 19 (Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico). For rates, call (800) 221-3949.

PENCIL IT IN
• Second Annual Sandals and Beaches Travel Agent Golf Tournament, Sept. 18 to 21, Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club and Royal Plantation Spa & Golf Resort, Sandals, both in Ocho Rios. Call (800) 48-SPECIAL for details.
• Fifth Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx V, Almond Village resort, Barbados, Dec. 4 to 8. The deadline for applications to the conference is Sept. 1. For information, contact Samira Cherrouk at [email protected] or Lorraine Ortiz at [email protected].

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