Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: February 28, 2002

SANDALS AND BEACHES Resorts sales reps will visit 10,000 travel agencies and 5,000 wholesalers during the course of the three-month North American "All-Out Sales Blitz" which concludes at the end of March. Frank Maduro, director of sales for Sandals and Beaches, said each member of the 46-member sales force averages 8 to 10 visits a day.

VIVA FORTUNA inclusive resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, upped its commissions to 15% from 12% for all bookings involving stays through Dec. 23. Agents must book through the property's toll free line at (800) 898-9968 or via e-mail at [email protected].

LODGEPODGE
• Reservations for Carenage Bay Beach & Golf Club in Canouan, the Grenadines can be made through Leading Hotels of the World at (800) 223-6800 or by e-mailing [email protected]. The resort and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts parted ways Feb. 20. Bruce Hearn, the resort's managing director, assured agents that it is "business as usual" at the 172-room deluxe property which will soon debut its redesigned par-72 golf course, designed by Jim Fazio.
• Rosewood's two remaining Caribbean properties announced promotional rates for summer 2002. Rates at Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda, B.V.I. start at $195 per room, per night, single or double April 1-Dec. 19. Prices at Caneel Bay on St. John, U.S.V.I. start at $225 a night, single or double April 20-Nov. 14.
• Sandals extended the booking deadline to March 10 for the 38th annual Ms. Travel Agent contest April 4-8 at Sandals Montego Bay. The event is co-sponsored by Air Jamaica and American/Wolfe International Hotel Representatives. Contestants must be currently employed by a travel agency in a sales capacity for at least a year. Six finalists will be flown to the resort for the judging; the winner will receive a four-night stay for two at any Sandals resort. Entry forms are available from A/WIHR at (800) 223-5695.
• Tentative opening date for the 30,000-square-foot casino planned for Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort on Grand Bahama Island is May.

AIR BYTES
• Air Jamaica will increase service to five flights a week, up from four, between Los Angeles and Montego Bay March 21. The service goes daily June 20. The carrier will also increase its nonstop service to four flights a week between Montego Bay and Curacao March 19. Allen Chastanet, vice president of marketing and sales, hinted that Belize "could be our next destination."
• Royal Aruban Airlines hopes to launch daily flights between Aruba and Bonaire this spring. The 40-minute flights will use Embraer 30-seat aircraft. For schedules, visit www.royalarubanairlines.com.

PENCIL IT IN
• Moonsplash Music Festival, Anguilla, March 22-24. Check http://www.anguilla-vacation.com for schedule and hotel packages.
• The Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism CMEx is slated for Nassau May 16 to 20 and will focus on strengthening awareness of sustainable tourism in the region. For info, contact [email protected].
• Antigua's 35th International Race Week, April 28 to May 4. Rob Sherman, managing director of Curtain Bluff Resort, is chairman of the event. Coincidentally, the first sailboat race of the week will pass right by the resort.
• The 29th annual International Rolex Regatta 2002, March 28 to 31, hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club. For race schedules, visit www.rolexcupregatta.com; for U.S.V.I. info, visit www.usvitourism.vi.
• The 33rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 16, Christiansted, St. Croix. Scratch and steel pan music, floats, green beer and plenty of cheer are the order of the day.

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