THE JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD reported a 20% jump in
visitor arrivals to the island in the first half of 2003 compared
with the same period a year ago, largely thanks to a boom in cruise
calls. "It's inspiring to see such a remarkable comeback for
tourism, and to know that so many people are traveling again," said
director of tourism Paul Pennicook. Although he credited intense
promotion by the JTB, airlines and hotels for the rebound, the
numbers show the recovery was fueled mainly by cruise ship calls.
The number of cruise passenger arrivals to Jamaican ports of call
skyrocketed 40% to 601,214, compared with 431,765 in 2002. By
comparison, Jamaica's room overnights grew 6% to 678,315 from
January to June, up from 634,015 in the first six months of 2002.
SEABORNE AIRLINES will boost its daily schedule
between St. Croix and St. Thomas in the late fall. Seaborne
currently offers between 18 and 24 daily roundtrip flights between
the two islands, but with the addition of 10 more daily flights the
seaplane airline will create a virtual air bridge from St. Croix to
St. Thomas, according to Omer ErSelcuk, chief marketing officer.
For schedules, visit www.seaborneairlines.com.
• September is Travel Agent Month at Viva Resorts' six inclusive
properties in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico. Nightly
rates start at $37 per person, single or double, at Viva Dominicus
Beach, La Romana-Bayahibe, Dominican Republic. Anyone sharing a
room with the agent also receives the discounted rate. Agents must
present a valid IATAN or ARC number at the time of booking. To
book, call (800) 898-9968 or e-mail [email protected].
• Wyndham Int'l entered into a 10-year alliance with Viva Resorts
to rebrand its properties as Viva Wyndham Resorts and incorporate
them into the Wyndham portfolio, effective Dec. 1. The Viva Wyndham
properties will follow Wyndham brand standards and the resorts will
participate in the WyndhamByRequest guest-recognition program.
NEW BUSINESS CARDS
• Joe Issa, son of John Issa who founded the SuperClubs hotel chain
in Jamaica, severed his ties with the family business last month,
according to Zein Issa-Nakash, his younger sister and SuperClubs'
vp-marketing and public relations. Issa-Nakash said her brother
left the firm "to pursue non-tourism-related businesses in
Jamaica." Joe Issa, who was executive vice president at the time he
left, joined SuperClubs in 1989 as resident manager at Grand Lido
Negril and worked in various capacities over the year. Issa-Nakash
said her brother's duties "will be distributed among senior
executives within the company."
• Allen Chastanet, vp-marketing and sales for Air Jamaica, has
resigned his post, effective Aug. 31. Chastanet, who is from St.
Lucia, will own and operate the 20-room Villa Creole, a new
boutique-style hotel that is scheduled to open in October in Rodney
Bay, St. Lucia. Prior to joining Air Jamaica in 1995, Chastanet was
St. Lucia's director of tourism.
• Rick Zeolla is the new general manager at the Aruba Marriott
Resort & Stellaris Casino. He most recently was general manager
of the Bucharest Marriott. Meanwhile, the Aruba Marriott named
Pasquale Strocchia director of sales and marketing. He was formerly
market director-group and travel industry sales for Marriott Int'l
CORRECTION: Gogo Worldwide Vacations
inadvertently supplied an incorrect telephone number for its Fall
Caribbean Sale announcement (Caribbean E-letter 7/31). The correct
contact number is (800) 229-4999.