Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: Aug. 21, 2003

AIR JAMAICA's on-again, off-again Fly Three, Fly Free promotion is on again. The carrier briefly introduced it several weeks ago, but pulled it because of technical problems. The offer entitles passengers who buy three roundtrip Caribbean tickets from any of the carrier's North American gateways to a free roundtrip flight. Travel must be completed by Dec. 14. The airline also hopes to boost membership in its 7th Heaven frequent-flyer program at the same time, according to a spokesman. Awards may be redeemed by mailing receipts and boarding pass stubs to Air Jamaica's 7th Heaven Dept., P.O. Box 565487, Pinecrest, FL., 33256. For details, visit www.airjamaica.com.

PACKAGE DEALS
• Apple Vacations' new Take Off to the Sun promotion launches Aug. 24 with savings up to 50% on select air and hotel packages to Caribbean and Mexico destinations booked by Sept 6 for travel on specific dates in September and October. Sample rates include a seven-night all-inclusive package with roundtrip charter air from Chicago to the Ocean Bavaro Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, priced at $649.99 per person, double (reduced from $1,299.99). For details, visit www.applevacations.com.
• US Airways Vacations extended its Caribbean Sale booking deadline to Aug. 29 for travel through Dec. 14. Air/hotel package rates to Bermuda, the Caribbean and Mexico represent savings up to 40%. Prices cover roundtrip air, accommodations, transfers, hotel taxes and service charges. Bookings can be made through VAX VacationAccess, the major GDSs or by calling (800) 455-0123.

THE 19-ROOM Sand Castle on the Beach -- on Dorsch Beach, to be precise -- in Frederiksted, St. Croix, completed phase one of a renovation program, thanks to new owners who renamed the property (formerly called On the Beach). The renovation added a waterfront restaurant, a beach cafe and a fitness center; the restaurant now offers a five-course wine dinner the third Saturday of each month. One-week air-inclusive rates range from $601 per person from New York to $797 from Los Angeles; tickets must be purchased by Aug. 29 for travel through mid-December; commission is 10%. Call (800) 524-2018 or visit www.sandcastleonthebeach.com.

IN THE NEWS
• St. Thomas' longtime arts patron and advocate Rhoda Tillett, co-founder of Tillett gardens at Estate Tutu, died last month at a hospital in North Carolina where she had gone for medical treatment. With her husband, the late Jim Tillett, Rhoda founded Tillett Gardens in 1959. The arts complex grew into a center for music, theater, crafts and community events, which included Arts Alive festivals, Classics in the Garden concerts and annual classical music competitions. Tillett Gardens remains open for business, according to son Eric Tillett who manages the property in the island's center. The annual Arts Alive festival will take place as scheduled over Thanksgiving weekend.

PENCIL IT IN
• Fifth Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, Sept. 9 to 12, St. Kitts Marriott Royal Beach Resort, St. Kitts. Speakers include Norman Girvan, secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States; Alwin Bully, senior program specialist-culture, UNESCO; Donald Sinclair, executive director, Guyana Tourism Authority; Lourdes Diaz, director of product development, Puerto Rico; and Jeffrey Brisbane, executive director, Dominica Festivals Corp. For details, visit www.doitcaribbean.com.

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