PUERTO RICO TOURISM CO.
, in tandem with Virtuoso,
will launch an initiative to market small (100 rooms or less),
independently owned deluxe properties on the island. The Unique
Collection-Luxury Hotels of Puerto Rico includes the Copamarina
Beach Resort, Guanica; El Convento, and the Water Club, both in San
Juan; Horned Dorset, Primavera, and Rincon Beach Resort, both in
Rincon; Hix's Island House, and Inn on the Blue Horizon, both in
Vieques; and Villa Montana, Isabela. Jose M. Suarez, PRTC's
executive director, said the properties were selected by PRTC and a
committee of island hoteliers. To be included in the collection,
Suarez said, hotels must meet "certain criteria and standards.
Virtuoso's marketing strengths guarantee promotional exposure for
these hotels, some of which did not have the funds for marketing
and promotion before this." The launch of the new collection, which
takes place in March, "lends creditability to independent hotels
and helps position Puerto Rico in the luxury market," Suarez added.
Agents can book through Virtuoso or through the individual hotels.
Further details are available at Puerto Rico's official Web site at
A TOLL-FREE AGENT HOTLINE is another new
wrinkle PRTC. It is staffed by tourism representatives seven days a
week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The representatives field inquiries
from agents, ranging from requests for site inspections and
promotional materials to information on new tourist sites and
assistance in resolving commission payment problems. Any messages
left after hours will receive a response within 24 hours, according
to PRTC. The number is (800) 866-5829; additional details are
outlined in the travel agent section of Puerto Rico's site.
THE BEST OF BARBADOS extra-value promotion,
launched in May, will be reintroduced by the Barbados Tourism
Authority for spring and summer travel. The plan features a $200
air credit on seven-night hotel stays and five-night inclusive
resort stays for bookings made by July 31 for stays from April 26
through Dec. 14. Early birds who book by March 1 for stays from
March 1 through April 11 receive a $300 air credit. The program
features a range of accommodations at 40 properties, a free
first-night stay, daily breakfast, and discounts on island tours,
submarine rides and golf. Bill Silvermintz, BTA's vp-marketing for
the Americas, said last year's promotion "had proven to be the most
successful travel promotion in the Caribbean. We are confident the
relaunch will result in continued strong growth this year." For
details, call the BTA at (800) 221-9831 or visit www.barbados.org.
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES will reinstate 737 service
three times a week between Houston and Aruba on June 12. The
service was halted after 9/11. Also on June 12, CO is adding
nonstop daily service between Newark and Port of Spain,
• The 156-room Martineau Bay Resort & Spa in Vieques, Puerto
Rico, will open for business Feb. 24, bringing to seven the number
of Wyndham-branded properties in Puerto Rico and 12 in the
Caribbean. Wyndham's Martineau Bay packages will offer airline
transfers from San Juan to Vieques on MN Aviation, a small commuter
line. Dallas-based Rosewood Hotels & Resorts formerly held a
minority stake in the deluxe resort, which was built two years ago
but never opened.
• The nine-room Valentines Resort and Marina in Harbour Island in
the Bahamas has been purchased by three Florida investors who plan
to build a new waterfront restaurant, bar, dive shop and marina
facilities as well as 46 new condo/hotel units in four separate
• The 107-room Rincon of the Seas-Grand Caribbean Hotel opened Feb.
8 in Rincon, Puerto Rico.