Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: August 8, 2002

THAT'S LIFE: The launch of the first component of the $16 million "Life Needs the Caribbean" marketing effort has been pushed back to Aug. 21 for technical reasons. The eight-week, $4.6 million cable TV campaign on 14 U.S. stations originally was set to start on July 31. Four commercials will carry the tag line "Ask your travel agent," a toll-free phone number and a Web site booking address.

SUPERCLUBS entered the Dominican Republic market, signing a management contract with Sol de Plata Hotels and Resorts to manage two inclusive resorts on the island -- the 471-room Puerto Plata Beach & Spa Resort and the 733-room Punta Cana Spa & Casino Beach Resort. Both properties will be re-branded Breezes resorts on Dec. 15, giving SuperClubs 10 Breezes properties in six countries. SuperClubs is handling sales and marketing operations for both hotels from its office in Hollywood, Fla. "We've had our eye on the Dominican Republic for years," said John J. Issa, SuperClubs executive chairman.

U.S. AMBASSADOR J. Richard Blankenship told Bahamian government officials in Nassau that, for security reasons, their plans to relocate the Straw Market to a temporary site next to Prince George Wharf could place cruise passengers at risk. According to Blakenship, controlling non-passenger access to the market would be difficult and he plans to suggest some ideas for constructing the market along Bay Street instead.

FLIGHT PLANS
• Pan American Airways plans to begin 727 service from Newark Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15 with three weekly nonstop flights and three one-stop flights.
• US Airways filed with the DOT for approval to operate nonstop roundtrip service to three destinations in the Dominican Republic: La Romana, Punta Cana, and Puerto Plata. The carrier already serves Santo Domingo from Philadelphia. Under the filing, Puerto Plata and La Romana initially would be served from Philadelphia, and Punta Cana would be served from Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia.

COUPLES RESORTS announced a new Preferred Travel Agent Program, including a cash bonus based on room nights at the chain's three Jamaica resorts. For all bookings made through Sept. 25, agents will earn $20 per room night for travel Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The program's standard bonus is $10 per room night. In addition to the cash bonus, agents enrolled in the program also earn incentives including complimentary nights, a listing on the Couples Web site, monthly Web flyers and advance notice of promotions and special events. Agents may log on to www.couples.com/agents.asp and fill out the agency registration form to become a Couples Preferred Agent.

HOLIDAY INN SunSpree Aruba Resort & Casino hosts Singles Week Aug. 31 to Sept. 7. Seven-night plans are available from Apple Vacations, Gogo Worldwide Vacations, Travel Impressions and US Airways Vacations. Gogo's land rate is $935, single, including activities, room, transfers, tax and service fees. Activities include Beach Olympics, salsa dancing, water sports, excursions and Oranjestad nightlife.

UP TO 30% savings on regular rates is offered to clients on land-only deals through Oct. 31at the upscale Sandy Lane, St. James, Barbados. Examples include a one-category upgrade (if available) for a three-night minimum stay on the Luxury Escape plan; 10 nights for $4,200 vs. the standard $6,000 rate on the Active Choice package; and five nights for the cost of four -- $2,400 vs. $3,000 -- for the Family Fun program. For information, call (866) 444-4080; or check the Web site, www.sandylane.com.

CELLULAR PHONES (Nokia model 3310) are now available for rent for $6 daily on Curacao from Touracao Tourist Services. The phones offer text paging, voice dialing, an alarm clock, a currency converter and a reminder service. Weekly rental plans are offered as well. For information, call (011) 599-9 695-1300; e-mail: [email protected].

PENCIL IT IN
• 26th Annual Pirates Week '02, Cayman Islands, Oct. 25 to Nov. 3
• Aruba's Kite Surfing Invitational 2002, Arashi Beach, Aruba, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1

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