Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: August 23, 2001

SPENDING THE BUCKS: The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. will launch a $25 million marketing and promotion campaign this fall, introduce weekly fam trips for 150 agents per week, revamp its Web site and tout hotel construction on the destination's east and west coasts. In related news, Milton Segarra was appointed exec director of PRTC. The move is expected to be approved by the Senate of Puerto Rico, which recently rejected the appointment of an earlier nominee. Segarra was with Hilton Int'l in the Caribbean region prior to his PRTC appointment.

OPERATION GROW: The Jamaica Tourist Board will invite as many as 1,200 U.S. travel agents to Jamaica in September as part of Operation Grow, a campaign aimed at countering the negative publicity that followed July's violent clashes between police and residents of a west Kingston neighborhood. The fam trips are free, although a $75 reservation deposit is required.

CONSTRUCTION CEASED on the 296-room Rosewood Hotel & Resorts' Martineau Bay resort on Vieques, Puerto Rico, after a bank sued to recover its investment in the property. A spokesman for the Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico said the foreclosure action, taken against San Juan-based majority owners Martineau Bay Partnership, was designed to "rescue the property and make it operational as soon as possible." Construction delays, cost overruns and disagreements between Rosewood, which held the management contract and minority ownership, and the owners plagued the project for two years. A Rosewood spokesperson called the legal action "regrettable."

SPIRIT AIRLINES will offer two daily one-stop flights from Newark to San Juan via Fort Lauderdale, effective Nov. 8. Aircraft will be MD-80s, seating 160 passengers in an all-coach configuration.

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